News Release: HUD Guts Critical Tool For Fighting Housing Discrimination


Aug. 6, 2020

Carter Dougherty
(202) 251-6700

HUD Guts Critical Tool For Fighting Housing Discrimination

Washington, DC – On Friday, September 4, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a final rule that drastically limits the opportunities to challenge housing policies that perpetuate systemic racism by excluding people of color and other groups from housing opportunities.

Communities of color currently experience housing and economic insecurity at higher rates due to policies that have prevented them from accessing opportunities and building wealth. Disparate impact is a powerful legal tool used to address systemic discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. For over 45 years, the disparate impact doctrine has allowed people to chip away at policies that have a discriminatory effect even if there is no intent to discriminate. When the need to address systemic racism is so urgent, and the costs of failing to do so are so devastating, HUD has chosen to finalize a rule that effectively dismantles this essential tool for fighting injustice.

HUD’s final rule:

  • Places a drastically higher burden on victims of discrimination by creating multiple new hurdles to prove a disparate impact claim under the Fair Housing Act
  • Prioritizes profits above people by allowing companies to justify discrimination if a policy is profitable and placing the burden on victims to show that a company can be as profitable without discriminating
  • Encouraging the use of algorithms even if companies know that they have a discriminatory effect

“At a time when communities of color are being disproportionately harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic because of the longstanding effects of housing and economic discrimination, HUD’s final rule makes it nearly impossible to challenge the policies behind the problem.” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel for Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund. HUD has made the unconscionable decision to finalize a rule that will exacerbate inequities and segregation by making it easier for lenders and housing providers to discriminate without consequence.”