NFHA Releases 2011 Fair Housing Trends Report
May 2011: The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) recently released its 2011 Fair Housing Trends Report, “The Big Picture: How Fair Housing Organizations Challenge Systemic and Institutionalized Discrimination.”
The report highlights the work that private nonprofit fair housing organizations do to promote diverse, inclusive communities. Annual data on fair housing complaints show that 85 private nonprofit fair housing organizations, operating on shoestring budgets, investigated almost twice as many complaints as all government agencies combined tasked with enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act.
“It is hard to see any part of society left untouched by the foreclosure crisis,” NFHA President and CEO Shanna L. Smith said in a statement. “Fortunately, private, nonprofit fair housing organizations are stepping up to fight the negative effects of the crisis. Moreover, these groups are broadening their efforts to rid the nation of intractable segregation by addressing systemic barriers to housing integration.”
For various reasons, NFHA reported that people with disabilities continued to report the most claims of discrimination overall. For example, NFHA says that many community owners make direct comments refusing to make reasonable accommodations or modifications for people with disabilities, so the discrimination is easier to detect. And despite HUD’s efforts to educate architects and builders about their fair housing responsibilities, NFHA says that developers continue to design and construct obviously inaccessible apartment buildings that do not meet the Fair Housing Act’s standards.
The report acknowledged that HUD and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have taken some significant steps over the past year to address injustice in the housing market. Nevertheless, NFHA says that long-recognized deficiencies in fair housing enforcement remain unaddressed, including HUD’s inherent conflict of interest between enforcing the law and maintaining partnerships with local jurisdictions that receive HUD funding, lenders, builders, real estate companies, and others in the housing industry that may be in violation of the Fair Housing Act. NFHA also pointed to the continued backlog of fair housing complaints at the federal, state, and local levels while private organizations struggle to stay afloat due to inadequate federal funding. “Census 2010 data show that our country remains highly segregated,” continued Smith. “As the nation continues to reel from the foreclosure and economic crises, private nonprofit fair housing organizations are taking stock of their communities. They are evaluating what went right, what went wrong, and what needs to happen next. We call on HUD and DOJ to step up their enforcement work and policy initiatives to do the same.”
For more information, visit NFHA’s Web site at http://www.nationalfairhousing.org/.
Source: National Fair Housing Alliance