Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG) submitted comments to HUD in opposition to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s revision of the disparate impact standard. Disparate impact is crucial to ensuring access to fair credit and homeownership opportunities for all communities. AKPIRG urges HUD to stick with its current interpretation of the disparate impact rule.
The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are getting a mortgage, buying a home, or renting an apartment. It makes it illegal to refuse or limit housing opportunities based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. Disparate impact is essential to enforce protections guaranteed by the Fair Housing Act because it provides a way to prohibit seemingly neutral policies that unnecessarily exclude people of color and other groups from housing. It has been widely effective in addressing discriminatory practices in mortgage lending, rental housing, and property insurance, thereby making housing more available to all.
AKPIRG is a consumer advocacy organization that works to ensure economic fairness in Alaska. In Alaska, people have experienced historic displacement and racial barriers to homeownership preventing them from benefiting from benefiting from wealth building opportunities. Many of our constituents are people of color who live on the economic margins and experience higher rates for auto loans, short-term personal loans, mortgage loans, and are not far from experiencing chronic homelessness. The added barrier of housing discrimination without legal enforcement or other recourse will be devastating to these families.
The disparate impact standard is necessary to prohibit policies that contribute to a widening racial and gender wealth gap.
HUD’s Proposed Rule would destroy disparate impact liability and allow insurance companies, financial institutions, and other major corporations to engage in covert discriminatory practices without any consequences. It would leave communities of color and other groups without protection from unfair and discriminatory policies. HUD’s Proposed Rule goes against the very purpose of the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination and instead gives companies more defenses to justify their policies.
AKPIRG strongly urges you not to go forward with the proposed rule. HUD should withdraw this proposed rule immediately and follow its mission to enforce our fair housing and fair lending laws.
Veri di Suvero
Alaska Public Interest Research Group