September 21, 2020

Brown Releases Civil Rights Report Entitled: Turning Back The Clock: How The Trump Administration Has Undermined 50 Years Of Fair Housing Progress

Brown Outlines How The Trump Administration Has Rolled Back Fair Housing Progress In This Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs today released a report outlining how the Trump Administration has systematically undermined 50 years of fair housing progress.

The report details how the Trump Administration has turned its back on the federal government’s fair housing obligations established in the 1968 Fair Housing Act by turning a blind eye to housing discrimination, rewriting the rules to prevent victims from seeking justice, gutting publicly available housing data, perpetuating segregation, making it harder for people to achieve the dream of homeownership, and targeting, rather than protecting, immigrant communities and LGBTQ communities. The report then lays out a path to restore the basic civil rights the Trump Administration has torn down and to make long-overdue investments in minority communities.

“More than 50 years after Congress passed the Fair Housing Act, access to housing remains unequal. This is not an accident. This is by design,” said Senator Brown. “The inequities we see today are the legacy of government policies and systemic discrimination in the financial system that made it difficult for Black and brown households to achieve access to equal housing opportunities. This report takes a hard look at our nation’s history of housing discrimination, describes how the Trump Administration’s actions undermine that fight, and lays out the work that Congress and regulators must do to reverse the harm done by this Administration and move forward in our continued fight for racial justice and equality. We must keep up the fight to make our housing system more just.”

“African Americans and disproportionately too many other racial and ethnic minorities have historically been relegated to certain disadvantaged communities, either by law or by practice,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior VP for Policy and Advocacy.  “Too many of our families have been denied access to decent, safe, secure and affordable housing near good schools, medical resources, public transportation, and the list goes on and on, far too long.  As this report clearly demonstrates, the gains we’ve made to integrate our nation has been dramatically curtailed by the flawed and incomplete policies we’ve endure since 2017.  Fortunately, this report also offers us a roadmap of policies and resources that should be fully implemented to get us all back on our feet again and moving forward together.”

“Trump’s appalling assaults on the Fair Housing Act have not been confined to his Twitter account. Consistently, he has maliciously followed through with regulatory action, public health care crisis notwithstanding. Not only has he made it harder to stop housing discrimination where it occurs, but he has weakened laws that undo the damage of decades of segregation, and has created more barriers for future homeowners. This report lays out Trump’s relentless assaults in damning detail, but also shows a useful roadmap of how Congress can, and must, reverse course,” said Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference.

“Housing inequality and residential segregation are among the most harmful legacies of this country’s history and they continue to this day,” said Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “We commend and thank Senator Brown for his leadership in shining a light on how this administration has sought to dismantle fair housing and lending protections. The legacy of our nation’s government-sponsored redlining and other discriminatory housing practices continue to undermine the opportunities of people of color and other marginalized communities. This administration has strengthened and furthered these harmful practices by dismantling strong Disparate Impact and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rules replacing them with weak and toothless versions that erode long-standing fair housing principles. Everything must be done to set the nation back on track and we must use every resource and tool available to fight back against systemic racism and a long history of disinvestment in communities of color.”

“From day one, the Trump administration has shown open hostility to long-standing civil rights protections in labor, education, voting rights, and the census count. Ranking Member Sherrod Brown’s report methodically details the administration’s insidious efforts to set back decades of civil rights protections for African Americans and others seeking safe, affordable and decent housing. We are in the midst of a pandemic caused by an abject failure of federal leadership that has left tens of millions unemployed, the economy in collapse, nearly half of the nation’s Black small businesses decimated, 40 million Americans at risk of foreclosure and eviction, and Black homeownership at levels not seen since the 1960, when racial discrimination in housing was legal. Prior to the pandemic, Black homeownership had just begun to dig out of the carnage of the Great Recession. The Trump administration’s most recent move to eliminate protections against housing segregation and now the rollback of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact rule—the very foundation for equal opportunity to safe and stable housing – reveal this administration’s intentions toward Black and Brown communities are as cruel as they are calculated,” said Marc H. Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League. “This report contains sensible and achievable policy recommendations, long supported by the National League, to attack systems that perpetuate inequality, including improved housing data collection, improved access to borrowing, real enforcement of our housing laws like the Community Reinvestment Act, and meaningful investment in long-forgotten communities.”

“Senator Brown’s report is an indictment of the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken long-standing civil rights laws that ensure all American families have an equal, fair shot at achieving the dream of homeownership, and protect them against discrimination and other barriers to finding an affordable home. From gutting the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and watering down the Community Reinvestment Act, to forcing immigrant families to choose between keeping a roof over their heads and separating U.S. citizen children from their parents, this intentional rollback of civil rights has been particularly cruel to the Latino community. Worse, our community’s health and financial standing have been severely compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. As the report suggests, the pandemic has exposed a legacy of inequality within our housing system, which continues to drive racial divides in housing access and homeownership rates. This Administration’s legacy will be marked by its deliberate efforts to expose the Latino community to greater discrimination, blockade families from accessing life-saving relief and assistance, and prevent our community from contributing to, as well as benefitting equitably from, the economic recovery our nation so badly needs,” said Janet Murguia, President and CEO of UnidosUS.

The executive summary of the report can be found here

The full report can be found here