Ohio fair housing advocates, including Toledo’s own Fair Housing Center, are speaking out against a recently proposed rule by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Opponents to the rule fear that it would essentially undermine the ability to challenge institutions or individuals whose actions make a “disparate impact,” as described in the Fair Housing Act— this covers policies and actions that might seem benign and neutral on the surface, but have a negative impact on people of color, women, those with disabilities and other historically marginalized groups. The proposed rule would make it more difficult to prove disparate impact claims, and it decreases accountability for businesses to report data that could reveal discriminatory practices.
“It is imperative that we make our voices heard,” said Marie Flannery, President and CEO of The Fair Housing Center, in Toledo, Ohio. “The administration has been chipping away at our civil rights since January 2017. This latest attack, if successful, will gut an enforcement tool that has historically had a broad and profound impact on protecting the housing rights of all people, particularly vulnerable populations and communities of color. The Fair Housing Center has utilized this tool to combat systemic discriminatory practices in the areas of homeowners insurance, mortgage lending, and post-foreclosure property maintenance practices that had a disparate impact on communities of color, women, and other protected groups.”
If you wish to make a comment voicing your thoughts on this issue, go to defendcivilrights.org by Friday, October 18.