Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would terminate the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation (AFFH) issued in 2015 and replace it with a new rule on fair housing titled Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Charities USA filed comments in March 2020 on HUD’s proposed changes to the AFFH rule. The comments urged HUD to withdraw the proposed rule because it weakens the definition of AFFH, fails to address barriers to fair housing, reduces community engagement, and diminishes the role of Public Housing Authorities.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, and Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president & CEO of Catholic Charities USA, issued a statement in response to HUD’s announcement:
“HUD’s replacement of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule undermines efforts to promote fair housing and human dignity. Discriminatory practices such as redlining, disinvestment from communities, discriminatory practices in selling or renting homes, and racial and economic segregation have undermined fair housing for generations and continue to harm communities of color today. HUD’s new rule minimizes the affirmative responsibility to promote fair housing by removing clear guidance and effective accountability.
“Fair housing regulations remain one of the key tools for addressing long standing inequities and historical disadvantages and must be strengthened, not weakened. As the U.S. bishops wrote 45 years ago in The Right to a Decent Home, ‘an absence of racial discrimination is no longer enough. We must insist upon effective programs to remedy past injustice.’ Let us renew this call to action to ensure all people have access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.”