Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Statement from the Alliance for Housing Justice
Contact: Liz Ryan Murray firstname.lastname@example.org
Civil Rights leaders fought, bled, and died for the Fair Housing Act. Now, while a new and powerful movement for Black lives and civil rights is happening, Ben Carson and Donald Trump want to burn it down.
Last week’s announcement by Secretary Ben Carson at the direction of the Trump White House is a full-on assault on racial justice and fair housing. Thousands of housing justice defenders wrote in to oppose HUD’s disastrous proposal to dismantle the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) provision of the Fair Housing Act. Carson & Trump ignored these voices and are charging ahead with attacks that will deepen harms against people of color.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Congressman John Lewis, CT Vivian, and the entire civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s committed their life’s work to see the enactment of the Fair Housing Act. AFFH included explicitly anti-racist provisions to dismantle racist, segregated housing systems. Trump and Carson are determined to tear down every remaining protection.
Now, as a new generation fights for progress, the Trump Administration attempts to go backward. This proposal would move the country even further away from the goals of equity that millions of Americans are demanding right now.
Our current system of housing is in dire need of new solutions. In the face of this blatant attack on fair housing, we cannot lose sight of solutions that will ensure permanent, affordable, community-controlled, and dignified housing. In this moment of both existing and forthcoming crisis for Black and Brown communities across the country, it is vital that we affirm fair housing by canceling rent, mortgages, and utility payments, and extend existing eviction moratoriums well beyond the COVID crisis. We know that stable, discrimination-free housing is key to the health and safety of communities, and never more so than during a global pandemic. AFFH—which requires cities and counties to consider and address the health outcomes of unequal housing—is the very tool Ben Carson is recklessly dismantling.
What HUD and the White House are proposing is nothing less than a dictatorial takeover of the democratic process. Thousands of people made their voices heard to reject Ben Carson’s first attempt to dismantle the AFFH rule. Not hearing what they wanted to, Trump and Carson disregarded the requirements of our legal system and plowed forward with their racist ideological political agenda anyway.
We call on Congress to use their Congressional Review Act responsibilities to reject this rule and its oversight responsibilities to direct Secretary Carson to fulfill his responsibilities to the millions of people who are without shelter or struggle to find and keep decent, safe, and affordable housing.
You can read more about Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing here.
The Alliance for Housing Justice is a coalition of organizations, including: Right to the City Alliance, PolicyLink, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and Public Advocates — seeking to align ourselves as legal, advocacy, organizing and policy groups to advance housing justice.