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September 27, 2019

On August 19, 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a proposed rule for public comment regarding the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard. Disparate impact makes it possible to challenge a policy or practice under the Fair Housing Act that, though it appears to be neutral on its face,  results in a disproportionate discriminatory impact on one or more protected classes. An example of such a policy could be a requirement of full-time employment in order to qualify for rental housing as it may disproportionately impact those with disabilities who might be receiving cash assistance to supplement their income.

The proposed rule seeks to make it more difficult to bring about a claim using the disparate impact standard by placing a significant amount of burden on the plaintiff, or victim of discrimination, and providing special defenses for businesses or corporations who use algorithms. As a result, this proposed rule change has the potential to exacerbate housing insecurity for people of color, families, those with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, and more, and ultimately curtail efforts to rectify racist and exclusionary housing policies and practices.

LAHSA opposes this proposed rule and is concerned that it will hamper local efforts to create a more equitable housing market. We strongly encourage service providers to submit comment to HUD in opposition. The deadline to comment is October 18, 2019 at 8:59pm PST. Comments can be submitted here. For your use, we’ve created a comment template, which you can find here. More information and resources can be found on the Defend Civil Rights website and the Fight for Housing Justice website.

LAHSA is a joint powers authority of the city and county of Los Angeles, created in 1993 to address the problems of homelessness in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is the lead agency in the HUD-funded Los Angeles Continuum of Care, and coordinates and manages more than $400 million annually in federal, state, county, and city funds for programs providing shelter, housing, and services to people experiencing homelessness. For more information, visit www.lahsa.org.

 

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