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Attorney General Josh Stein Supports Stronger Fair Housing Protections

For Immediate Release:
Friday, April 21, 2023

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein supported the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed rule to strengthen critical fair housing protections. The proposal will implement the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule by promoting residential integration and increasing protections against unlawful discriminatory housing practices.

“North Carolinians know all too well how difficult it is to find and buy a home right now,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Unlawful discrimination makes it even harder, and it’s bad for our communities. I’m pleased to see the Biden administration taking steps to make fair housing a reality for everyone.”

The federal Fair Housing Act requires HUD to take affirmative steps to further fair housing, including tackling the legacy of segregation and disparities in access to housing.

“Housing discrimination and segregation remain intractable problems in large part because the people and communities directly affected by these problems have historically not been afforded meaningful opportunities to be part of crafting solutions to dismantle the systemic policies that helped create and perpetuate such discrimination,” said Lauren Brasil and Kelly Clarke, Co-Directors of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Fair Housing Project. “HUD’s proposed AFFH Rule provides a real roadmap for participants and members of the community to put into action what it means to affirmatively further fair housing and understand their roles in achieving that goal.”

In 2015, the Obama administration’s HUD created a process requiring state and local governments to examine the barriers to fair housing and housing access in their communities and develop a plan to overcome these disparities. In 2020, the Trump administration rescinded that rule and replaced it with a rule that did nothing to combat residential segregation. Now, the Biden administration is re-instating and improving the 2015 protections.

The proposal will:

  • Require public organizations that get funding from HUD to prepare plans that identify obstacles to fair housing choices and strategies to reach fair housing goals.
  • Promote community engagement and accountability by making these equity plans available to the public for review and input, as well as allowing the public to hold program participants accountable through the proposed complaint and compliance review process.
  • Enable HUD to provide technical assistance and data for program participants to use to address the housing issues.

In the letter, Attorney General Stein and other attorneys general support the proposal. They also ask HUD to put in place more protections against housing discrimination and segregation, encouraging more community engagement, and increasing measurability of data and analysis of results.

In filing the comment letter, Attorney General Stein joins the Attorneys General of California, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland, Washington State, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the comment letter is available here.

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