The Obama Administration's recent housing policies indicate that it is more serious about achieving equality in housing than any recent administration, and many of the key participants in the push for fair housing will be convening in Washington, D.C. next month to further discuss the issues.
HUD will be hosting a fair housing conference, "A Call to Advance Housing Rights and Opportunities," from September 1 to 3 at the Department's headquarters. Guest speakers will include HUD Secretary Julián Castro, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President and CEO Wade Henderson, and former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, who as a Senator in Minnesota co-sponsored the landmark Fair Housing Act in in 1968.
According to HUD, approximately 350 fair housing lenders from across the country will convene at the conference to discuss such topics as HUD's recently finalized Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that disparate impact claims will be allowed under the Fair Housing Act, residential segregation, lending discrimination, and the intersection of climate justice and fair housing.
"And, it preserves a longstanding and important method for challenging and eliminating those practices and continuing the work to end discrimination in housing."
The mandate for the AFFH, which was finalized in July to help further fair housing in HUD-funded communities, existed in the original Fair Housing Act in 1968, according to USC Bedrosian Center on Governance Director and former HUD assistant secretary Raphael Bostic. But there was a need for the AFFH because "it wasn't getting communities to be reflective about how they were investing in their communities to make sure people were moving forward, it wasn't sparking the types of discussions and conversations that would get a deeper awareness of the challenges that still exist in communities, and it wasn't leading to creativity in finding solutions so that segments of the population weren't being left behind."
The U.S. Supreme court ruled in June by a slim 5-4 majority that disparate impact claims, which are claims based on neutral practices that have a discriminatory effect, are allowable under the Fair Claims Act. The White House issued a statement saying the Court's ruling, "reflects the reality that discrimination often operates not just out in the open, but in more hidden forms. And, it preserves a longstanding and important method for challenging and eliminating those practices and continuing the work to end discrimination in housing."
The conference is also part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of HUD, which began in 1965,