Obama administration announces new rule aimed at promoting fair housing

July 10, 2015

The Obama administration announced Wednesday, July 8, 2015, a new rule aimed at promoting fair housing, nearly 50 years af- ter the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was passed to combat segregation and wide-spread discrimination in neighbor- hoods across the country.


Despite the decades old law requiring communities that receive federal funds to increase access to quality, affordable housing, many communities in the U.S. — in cities like Chicago and Baltimore — remain segregated by race and income. Often these majority-minority communities lack access to good schools, grocery stores and to the kinds of opportunities necessary to help residents rise out of poverty.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development said the regulations will provide communities that receive HUD funding with data and tools that will help them meet fair housing obligations and goals for affordable housing and community development.

“As a former mayor, I know firsthand that strong communities are vital to the well-being and prosperity of families,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement. “Unfortunately, too many Americans find their dreams limited by where they come from, and a ZIP code should never determine a child’s future.”

Castro later Wednesday morning tweeted “Ensuring that American families can live where they choose isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue — it’s an American issue” with the hashtag “#Fairhousing” at the end.

The Fair Housing Act requires HUD and its program recipients to promote fair housing and equal opportunity to ensure that all people have the right to fair housing regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status. The new rule aims to provide program participants with clear guidelines and data — including searchable geo-spatial maps that incorporate data sets about income, race, disability status and other measures — they can use to reach those goals. The rule clarifies and simplifies existing fair housing obligations and creates a streamlined process for evaluating fair housing, the HUD statement said.