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Regulatory Report

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

Decades after the civil rights movement inspired the Fair Housing Act, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) still has a long way to go before that law’s vision of fair housing is realized. The primary recommendations of this report to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are to more clearly define fair housing goals and to measure the progress of locally-based housing providers in meeting the requirements of the 1960’s civil rights statute.

A section of the Fair Housing Act requires HUD to “affirmatively further” fair housing, but the agency now admits that the implementation of the requirement has not been as “effective as envisioned.” In part because the mandate has been left vague and difficult to measure by the agency, HUD does not have a system in place to ensure that cost-effective investments in housing fairness are made.

Righting the problem is at the top of HUD’s priority list: it now has a plan to release a new regulation on the implementation of the affirmatively furthering fair housing mandate. But if HUD’s new rule is to succeed, Policy Integrity’s report finds that the agency’s first task should be to set a proper definition of the problem by clarifying what “affirmatively furthering fair housing” entails.