ACLU Applauds Reinstatement of HUD Rule Strengthening Protection from Housing Discrimination

March 17, 2023 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union applauded a final rule from the Department of Housing and Urban Development reinstating longstanding standards for challenging housing discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, and other categories protected by the Fair Housing Act of 1972.

In June 2013, the Obama administration issued a regulation that drew from decades of precedent affirming legal protection from housing discrimination. It required housing providers, financial institutions, municipalities, and other corporations to eliminate policies that appear neutral but disproportionately limit housing opportunities for marginalized and vulnerable communities, including people of color, people with disabilities, and survivors of domestic violence. In 2020, the Trump administration dramatically re-wrote this rule, creating serious and unnecessary barriers for victims of housing discrimination attempting to prove their claims.

“Today’s final rule is a pivotal step towards ending widespread policies that perpetuate segregation and discrimination that continue to deny millions adequate and fair housing,” said Sandra Park, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. “The regulation enacted by the Trump administration placed an impossible burden on renters, homeowners, and applicants who seek to combat modern, under-the-radar forms of housing discrimination that block housing opportunities for families. This rule puts power back in the hands of those too long denied it and can help us all build inclusive communities.”

The ACLU has a pending lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut challenging the Trump administration’s disparate impact rule, which never went into effect due to a court order in a separate case. The 2020 lawsuit was filed on behalf of Open Communities Alliance and SouthCoast Fair Housing, two organizations advancing fair housing in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and co-counsel include the ACLU Foundation of Connecticut, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.

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