DOJ, HUD Update Existing Guidance Despite Calls for a Moratorium

Credit: HUD.

The Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released updated guidance on the application of the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) to state and local land use planning laws on December 12th.

The guidance is designed to help state and local governments better understand how to comply with the FHA when making zoning and land use decisions as well as to help members of the public understand their rights under the FHA,” the agencies said in a joint statement.

DOJ Logo

The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and familial status (residing with children under 18).

The statute bars state and local governments from enacting or enforcing land use and zoning laws, policies, practices and decisions that discriminate against persons because of a protected characteristic, such as race, national origin or disability.

Vanita Gupta. Credit: WAPO.

The Fair Housing Act helps protect open, free and integrated communities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the DOJ Civil Rights Division.

Government officials, housing providers and the general public need to understand how land use and zoning decisions can create barriers to equal housing opportunity.  We hope this guidance will help communities make these decisions free from discrimination.

Zoning and land use are inherently local decisions,” said Gustavo Velasquez, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for HUD.

Gustavo Velasquez. Official Photo.

This updated guidance will help give localities and the American people a clearer line of what could constitute housing discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act.  Cities will also have more resources to understand their fair housing rights and responsibilities in the course of making decisions related to various types of housing, including group homes for residents with disabilities.

Rick Robinson. Credit: MHI.

While a good portion of the Guidance deals with land use planning as it applies to group homes, there is much our state associations can use when they are dealing with cities attempting to eliminate our homes from the supply of affordable housing stock via zoning,” said Rick Robinson, General Counsel for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

The movement by the DOJ and HUD run counter to calls from many inside and outside of the MH industry for a moratorium until President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

M_Mark_Weiss_MHARR_president__mhpronews__credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
MHARR president and CEO M. Mark Weiss. Credit: MHProNews.

MHARR recently told the MHProNews that they are calling on the heads of three agencies specifically – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to defer further action on pending controversial rules or actions that could have a severely negative impact on both the manufactured housing industry and American consumers of affordable housing.

That story is linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

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