The Arc raised opposition when, in August of 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developments (HUD) issued a proposed rule that could drastically weaken a long-standing tool used to fight discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. The Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin. It covers private housing, housing that receives Federal financial assistance, and State and local government housing. Here’s some basic information on what the rule does, why this is important, and what you can do.
What’s disparate impact?
Disparate impact claims brought under the Fair Housing Act protect against policies and actions that seem neutral but in practice unfairly harm certain groups of people. This type of discrimination does not have to be intentional. Under the law, and based on current regulations and Supreme Court interpretation, you can bring a housing discrimination claim where a policy or action results in a “disparate impact” on the basis of race, disability, or other protected category.
The proposed rule would change the requirements for making disparate impact claims, undercutting existing protections. Under the proposed rule, it would be much harder, if not impossible, to use disparate impact to challenge discriminatory housing policies and practices. The Fair Housing Act disparate impact standard continues to play an important role in integration and addressing systemic housing discrimination. We must oppose efforts to weaken it.
What can I do?
- You have until October 18th to submit comments. Make your voice heard. To submit a comment to HUD, click here and follow the directions on the page. Feel free to use our comments template as a starting point.Write comments in your own words. The template highlights in [yellow] are suggestions where you can add your own thoughts and experience.
- If you have research, data, or testimonials, consider including them.
- If you have expertise in an issue area, say so. As a person with a disability, or an organization that advocates for disability rights or provides services to people with disabilities, you have credibility!