WASHINGTON, D.C. – On March 6, the leadership at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is changing its mission statement by stripping away language that promises inclusivity and communities free of discrimination.
According to news reports, the new mission statement removes the reference to “inclusive” communities “free from discrimination.” The draft statement now reads: “HUD’s mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation.”
In response to this development, Nikitra Bailey, executive vice president with the Center for Responsible Lending made the following statement:
By removing HUD’s commitment to fight for fair housing and work to remove discriminatory barriers, Secretary Carson and the Trump Administration are again betraying the trust of our nation’s people and guarantees assured by federal law. Neither is acceptable.
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 created an affirmative obligation for HUD to further fair housing by eliminating discrimination and residential segregation. It along with subsequent amendments address unlawful discrimination faced by people of color, women, people with disabilities, and families with children. This commitment to equity of opportunity also guided HUD in advancing LGBTQ rights through changes to program regulations. For almost 50 years, HUD has used the Fair Housing Act to address the insidious nature of housing discrimination. Further, continued enforcement actions against businesses and individuals are a steady drumbeat that expose how America has yet to live up to its promise of equal justice under law.
With the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act only weeks away, and multiple lawsuits alleging discriminatory actions in housing pending, this new statement undermines a longstanding commitment to equity and fairness. It disrespects the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for whom Congress honored with the law’s passage. It also fails to ensure an America as good as its ideals.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with a CRL spokesperson on this issue, please contact Charlene Crowell at firstname.lastname@example.org.