An important new fair housing regulation – aimed at promoting diverse, inclusive communities and overcoming the negative effects of segregation – was issued on July 8, 2015 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The regulation is designed to guide jurisdictions in complying with their existing obligations to “affirmatively further fair housing,” a key provision of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. It requires state and local governments and housing authorities to consider how to eliminate fair housing barriers for people of color, families with children and people with disabilities.
For the first time, HUD will provide substantial data on housing, demographics and other local conditions for state and local policymakers to assess in determining, among other things, the degree of segregation, concentrated poverty and barriers to equal housing opportunity in their communities.
“Although we have made some progress, we remain a highly segregated society,” said Ralph Cummings, SCFHC Board President. “Maps of major cities illustrate how segregated our communities are. At the same time, where you live has a big impact on how your life unfolds. It determines the schools your children attend, the jobs you have access to, the quality of your surroundings, your access to transportation and grocery stores and other important community resources. In our region, too many children are growing up in neighborhoods that lack these resources. This not only limits their life prospects, but undermines our region’s prosperity.”
“This new HUD rule will help all jurisdictions in the Coastal Georgia area be more deliberate and strategic about how they use their housing and community development resources to expand access to opportunity for all residents of our community,” added Cummings. “We look forward to working with local policymakers, to ensure that all people – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, family status or disability – can chose where to live, and all neighborhoods are good places to live.”