February 15, 2017 - The bill (AB 686) which would maintain California’s commitment to fair…
Fair housing law prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, national origin, disability status, and other protected characteristics. The 1968 Fair Housing Act also includes a powerful mandate that the federal government actively work to dismantle segregation and to create equal housing opportunities. This mandate is known as “affirmatively further fair housing.” HUD passes this duty on to all state and local governments that receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In 2015, HUD released new regulations and data to guide local governments in identifying the sources of housing inequality in their communities and take proactive steps to increase opportunity for households of color and combat discrimination and segregation. We are working with community partners to implement this rule and ensure that local governments comply with their duty to affirmatively further fair housing by studying and addressing issues such as displacement, affordable housing needs, transit access, job access, and more.
Unfortunately, fair housing and the duty to affirmatively further fair housing have come under attack in Washington. So Public Advocates is now working to strengthen California fair housing law, while we continue to press forward with local advocacy under existing law.
Public Advocates recently submitted comments to HUD defending important federal fair housing regulations in the face of the Trump administration’s deregulation initiative.
At the local level, Public Advocates has already won important victories around the intersection of fair housing and the displacement crisis disproportionately impacting tenants of color and other vulnerable groups in the Bay Area. Working with the Mission Economic Development Agency, former HUD official Mercedes Marquez, and leading fair housing firm Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, we drafted a civil rights framework describing how the displacement of Latino residents from the Mission was a process of re-segregation that threatened core community assets, fair housing choice, and access to opportunity in the neighborhood. Read our framework here.
At our prompting, Oakland acknowledged that the loss of naturally affordable housing was a barrier to equal housing opportunity within the city. And after detailed input from Public Advocates and our allies at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, San Jose conducted extensive analysis about displacement and the need for stronger tenant protections as part of its efforts to comply with the duty to affirmatively further fair housing.
In San Mateo County, we are working with the Anti-Displacement Coalition and other groups to push for a strong analysis in the region’s first Assessment of Fair Housing—a new, more robust analysis required by the 2015 federal regulation on affirmatively furthering fair housing. Read letters from Public Advocates and our coalition partners below:
- Input on Planning the Community Participation Process (October 2016)
- Concerns about stakeholder meetings and a draft survey (February 2016)
- Concerns about the efforts of politically organized real estate interests to distort the data gathered for the Assessment of Fair Housing and block policies needed to stabilize fair housing choice within San Mateo County (May 2017)
- Initial input regarding displacement, affordable housing, access to opportunity, issues facing Section 8 voucher holders and mobilehome park residents, and the principles that should guide the San Mateo County Assessment of Fair Housing (June 2016)
- Letter to director of housing for San Mateo County regarding the Scope of the Assessment of Fair Housing (July 2017)
- Public Advocates’ comment letter on San Mateo County’s Assessment of Fair Housing (August 2017)
- Letter on Transportation Issues and Actions in the Draft San Mateo County Assessment of Fair Housing from Public Advocates and community organizations to the Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County (September 2017)