What does Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing mean now? Low- and moderate-income families are bearing the economic brunt of the social distancing measures that are being implemented to protect society from the coronavirus – and the racialized income and wealth distribution in our society means that these burdens also have a disproportionate racial impact. If there was ever a time for “targeted universalism,” the time is now. Congress and state governments need to act immediately to ensure housing security for the next 18 months and beyond. Wider moratoria on evictions and foreclosures are the first step, followed by expanded – or universal – rental assistance for all families in need, national source of income discrimination protections, an end to utility shut-offs, and forgiveness of housing and utility debt when the crisis abates. For starters, the current Senate proposal calls for emergency housing assistance to supplement the recent coronavirus legislation (which left housing aid out altogether) – see the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s summary and recommendations here and here. See also this excellent letter to HUD and the state housing department from Connecticut’s legal services community, and a broader list of recommendations to the governor of Illinois from the Shriver Center.
AFFH comments: HUD received over 20,000 comments (including this one from PRRAC) in response to its perverse proposed regulation eliminating race, segregation, and accountability standards from its affirmative fair housing oversight duties.
Housing mobility expands in Buffalo, Milwaukee, and St. Louis: In Buffalo, the Mobility Works group is proud to be working with Enterprise Community Partners to support a new housing mobility program at Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) in Buffalo. The program, which launches this week, is funded through a grant from the NY State Attorney General’s office and is designed to offer expanded housing choices in Buffalo and Erie County to low-income families with Housing Choice Vouchers. In Milwaukee and St. Louis, the major PHAs in each region are working with their nonprofit partners to develop and research the effects of new or expanded housing mobility programs, under the auspices of MDRC and the CMTO project (which runs the ongoing mobility study in Seattle). With foundation support, these two programs hope to serve up to 400 families during the two-year project. Through Mobility Works, we helped the St. Louis program get started in 2016, and have worked to develop the program in Milwaukee beginning in 2017.
More Source of Income discrimination laws – in Virginia, Maryland, and Atlanta! We have updated our directory to include these new laws, as well as several other recently enacted local ordinances. And if your community has not yet adopted a SOI ordinance, see our 2-pager, “Crafting a strong and effective source of income discrimination law.”
School integration conference postponed: the National Coalition on School Diversity’s conference was postponed until the fall – stay tuned for more details.
The National Housing Mobility Conference is scheduled for November 17-18 in Washington DC, health guidelines permitting.
Other news and resources:
The National Housing Law Project has released a new toolkit on Fair Chance Ordinances which provides organizers and advocates tools for developing a local fair chance policy aimed at increasing housing access by reducing the use of criminal records screening in the rental housing application process.
Law review issue on Restorative Justice: In the New York Law School Law Review Symposium Issue, Restorative Justice: Changing the Lens, the majority of articles are actually written by current and former prosecutors, which underscores the growing consensus that we need an alternative to the dehumanizing, traditional approach to criminal justice in the U.S.