Organization Profile

Fair Housing Act at 50

Leveraging the Besieged Assessment of Fair Housing Process to Create Common Ground Among Fair Housing Advocates and Community Developers

The duty to affirmatively further fair housing, commonly known by its acronym AFFH, has the potential to serve as one of the strongest weapons in the arsenal of both community developers and fair housing advocates to address structural barriers to full and equal participation in U.S. society for people of color, persons with disabilities, and others protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Legislation & Lobbying

An Evolving Fair Housing Movement: Forging New Partnerships and Agendas Across Policy Areas

The fiftieth anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) this year presents an opportunity for celebration and reflection during a tumultuous political time. The civil rights community has occasion to take stock of our progress as a nation over the past fifty years; our continuingneed for action to achieve the FHA’s aims; and how evolving demographics, political and community dynamics, and jurisprudence may demand new strategies and narratives. Since the anniversary occurs during a conservative administration, it also marks a time of dual focus for national housing policy advocates.

Government Benefits

Threading the Needle of Fair Housing Law in a Gentrifying City with a Legacy of Discrimination

This essay tells the story of an extended and complex conflict between San Francisco and HUD and the creative solution that emerged from their negotiations. The conflict concerned the application of a community preference to a proposed senior housing development that would be located in a traditional African American neighborhood in San Francisco and its potential violation of federal fair housing law. After a brief background discussion of some of the policy and legal issues raised by community preferences, the essay tells the story of the conflict and its resolution. The essay concludes with reflections on the potential value of the solution to other similarly situated cities in the context of ongoing gentrification and displacement.

Bias & Discrimination

When Opportunity Knocks: Working with State Housing Agencies to Promote Desegregation Within the LIHTC Program

In June 2015, housing advocates across the country breathed a sigh of relief when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project. 1 Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5–4 decision, affirmed that disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).2 Many attorneys will, rightly, remember this case as a landmark civil rights decision. However, the facts underlying Inclusive Communities also highlight an important issue regarding the future of affordable housing in the United States: the concentration of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit(LIHTC) units primarily within low-income communities of color and how to thoughtfully address this concentration.

Federal Government

Dismantling the Narratives that Constrain Public Support for Fair Housing: The Urgent Need to Reframe the Public Conversation to Build Public Will

In January 2018, just shy of the 50th anniversary of the landmark Fair Housing Act, the Trump administration announced that it would delay implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule enacted under President Barack Obama. Under the AFFH rule, thefederal government was poised to play a stronger role in furthering fair housing by requiring local communities to redouble their efforts to reduce segregation to qualify for federal funds.

Opportunities and Challenges in the New Administration

Taxation

Tax Reform and Its Consequences for Affordable Rental Housing

The 2017 tax reform legislation (Pub. L. No. 115-97), initially titled the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (Act), was responsible for the most sweeping changes to the Internal Revenue Code (Code) in a generation. Unlike the experience in 1986, which included the creation of the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), nothing in the Act directly addressed affordable rental housing. Nevertheless, the new law has very important consequences for the production and preservation of affordable rental housing.

Affordable Housing

Housing Finance Agencies: Opportunities and Challenges in 2018

State Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) are a necessary and influential component of the national housing finance system. They can propel home sales, spur new multifamily construction starts, and nimbly respond to housing market disruptions. Despite their broad portfolio, they remain largely unknown to both the general public and housing professionals.This article will provide a brief overview of the different activities HFAs currently engage in and also share with readers some of the different topics HFAs will tackle in 2018, including those raised in the new administration.

Government Benefits

Achieving Housing Choice and Mobility in the Voucher Program: Recommendations for the Administration

Housing Choice Vouchers1 help deconcentrate poverty and improve the lives of low-income families. There is evidence, however, that the program has failed to meet its housing choice and mobility goals. Tenants with a voucher disproportionately live in low-rent, racially segregatedneighborhoods.2 In fact, almost a quarter million children in the voucher program live in neighborhoods of extreme poverty.3 Many voucher families are unable to obtain rental housing outside of areas of poverty and, in some cases, fail to lease up at all. The way HUD administers the voucher program has contributed to the mobility and utilization barriers faced by low-income families.

Article

Bias & Discrimination

The Challenge of Housing Affordability in Oregon: Facts, Tools, and Outcomes

Housing, particularly affordable housing, has been the center of much discussion in the second decade of the 21st century in the United States. This article focuses on that discussion in one American state—Oregon— containing slightly more than one percent of the country’s population, but possessing a land-use planning system that aspires to promote housing affordability, as well as address other social, economic, and political concerns. Indeed, Oregon’s land-use system is nationally known for its centralization and focus on containing sprawl.