HUD announces several fair housing actions

This week, the Department of Justice withdrew the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) appeal in Massachusetts Fair Housing Center v. HUD – a case that challenges the 2020 disparate impact rule, which limited plaintiffs’ ability to bring disparate impact claims. The announcement follows President Biden’s memorandum on redressing historical discriminatory housing practices, which directed HUD to examine the recently amended disparate impact standard.

“We are pleased that HUD dropped its appeal,” said Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “Now HUD and the Biden Administration can get to work driving discrimination out of housing. That should include fully rescinding HUD’s weakened disparate impact standard issued in 2020 and making it clear that HUD’s 2013 Disparate Impact Rule applies and will be followed.”

HUD announced additional fair housing actions this week, including a new enforcement action and a directive to prevent housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) published a memorandum that explains the agency interprets the Fair Housing Act as barring such discrimination.

“Housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity demands urgent enforcement action,” said FHEO Acting Assistant Secretary Jeanine M. Worden. “That is why HUD, under the Biden Administration, will fully enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Every person should be able to secure a roof over their head free from discrimination, and the action we are taking today will move us closer to that goal.”

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