Opportunity to Comment on HUD’s Proposed Disparate Impact Rule

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!

For more information, including additional comment templates, visit https://defendcivilrights.org/ and https://www.fightforhousingjustice.org/.

HUD Announces 2019 Mainstream Voucher Program and Opportunity for the Disability Community

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently issued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for $150 million in new “Mainstream” housing vouchers. Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) are eligible to submit applications, due Thursday, September 5, 2019. HUD is providing points in this competitive process for applications that include partnerships between housing and services agencies, especially those that target housing assistance to people with disabilities (ages 18-61) who are transitioning out of institutional or other segregated settings, at serious risk of institutionalization, currently experiencing homelessness, previously experienced homelessness and currently a client in a permanent supportive housing or rapid rehousing, or those at risk of experiencing homelessness.

The supply of affordable, accessible housing remains far less than the need, and this opportunity could be one piece in the puzzle to help address this crisis. Learn more about the opportunity and strategies to build partnerships with state housing agencies or PHAs in your area to submit strong applications. If HUD sees strong applications and good results, we hope it would open up additional funding for this program down the road. The webinar is presented by the CCD Housing Task Force and the Technical Assistance Collaborative. You can also visit HUD’s Mainstream Vouchers page to access the NOFA, FAQs, and other materials.