The Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, a non-partisan think tank, issued a report Friday on the implementation of the Fair Housing Act that recommends that the Department of Housing and Urban Development more clearly define fair housing goals and measure the progress of local jurisdictions in meeting the requirements of the law. Click here for the report.
“Decades after the civil rights movement inspired the Fair Housing Act, HUD still has a long way to go before that law’s vision of fair housing is realized,” said Policy Integrity executive director, Michael Livermore, in a statement. “HUD should take steps to improve fairness and equality in housing markets.”
The requirement that HUD and local governments receiving funds “affirmatively further” fair housing has been vaguely defined and therefore compliance has been difficult to measure, the report says, and HUD admits the measure has not been implemented effectively. That requirement is at the center of the federal government’s case against Westchester County that resulted in a settlement in 2009 that has hit snags throughout its implementation.
HUD plans to release a new regulation on affirmatively furthering fair housing, the Institute said, but must first define the term.
“The affirmatively furthering fair housing section of the Fair Housing Act doesn’t just lack teeth, it doesn’t even have a proper face,” said Denise Grab, the lead author of the report. “Whether a city or county affirmatively furthers fair housing or not is almost completely undefined. When HUD issues regulations, a clear explanation of this phrase should be at the top of the page.”