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.

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago of Los Angeles introduces bill to buck Trump Administration on Fair Housing

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: