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HUD eliminates crucial tool to dismantle systemic racism in housing

On July 23, HUD announced it was eliminating the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, a 2015 rule that requires communities that receive federal funding from HUD to examine and to work towards eliminating barriers to equal housing due to systemic racism. 

MHP’s work to ensure that everyone has a home derives from the value that every human deserves dignity, respect, kindness and love. Racial disparities in housing are not accidental nor are they isolated. Redlining, racial covenants, and current manifestations of systemic oppression result in Minneota having the largest race based housing disparities in the nation. 

And HUD has just eliminated an important tool for fixing those disparities. 

In comments to HUD opposing rollbacks of the AFFH earlier this year, MHP noted: 

“Minnesota has harmed communities of color with policies and practices that have not been adequately examined for discriminatory outcomes, the exact harms the AFFH rule is intended to prevent and end. Evictions policies and practices producing undue harm to Black women are one egregious example. An evictions study from the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, conducted by Dr. Brittany Lewis and published in 2019, found that from 2013-2015, approximately 50% of renter households in North Minneapolis, an area with predominantly residents of color, experienced at least one eviction filing, a disparity particularly relevant given that this area contains just 8% of all rental units in the city.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people of color in Minnesota were more likely to experience housing cost-burden -- paying more than 30 percent of income on housing at the expense of food, medicine, and other essentials. At the same time, people of color are more likely to hold jobs that are at risk for closure or reduced hours, making that cost-burden that much more dire. See: https://www.mhponline.org/images/COVID19/RaceJobsCovidDraft2.pdf

“The decision by HUD Secretary Ben Carson is a slap in the face to everyone working to end disparities in housing and rectify the harms caused by deeply embedded discriminatory housing policy,” said Anne Mavity, MHP’s executive director. “Instead of partnering with cities and communities to remove barriers to housing for people of color, the Trump administration has instead decided to ignore that these barriers even exist.”

“During a pandemic and recession when people are already struggling and the starkness of these disparities more and more apparent, there is only one word for this action: cruelty.”

 MHP calls on the Trump administration and HUD to reverse this decision and fully enforce the AFFH rule.