Statement by Georgia Katsoulomitis, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), Regarding HUD’s New Attack on Fair Housing

August 22, 2019

Statement by Georgia Katsoulomitis, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), Regarding HUD’s New Attack on Fair Housing

Boston, Mass – “In 1973, Donald Trump and his company were sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating fair housing laws and discriminating against prospective tenants based on their race.  It is therefore no surprise that the man who was first brought into the public consciousness for his efforts to discriminate against people of color seeking housing is now looking to weaken federal anti-discrimination laws when it comes to housing.

This week, the Trump administration introduced a new rule making it harder, almost impossible, for people to bring discrimination complaints under the Fair Housing Act. The proposed change will raise the burden of proof for individuals claiming that they were discriminated against through a civil rights theory known as ’disparate impact,’ which allows men and women to challenge policies harming minority communities, people with disabilities, women and others.  The proposed rule effectively gives defendants a free ‘get out of jail card’ and leaves people protected by fair housing laws without their day in court.

Many people will lose their right to challenge discriminatory policies under this rule change, yet another effort by the Trump Administration to harm people of color and others protected by the Fair Housing Acts merely seeking to live in safe, quality, affordable housing in neighborhoods of their choice.

This rule change could lead to individuals being denied homeowners insurance in certain areas, a roll back of attempts to create more inclusionary housing in communities across the country, and the return of redlining.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the entire country lives still with the legacy of housing discrimination.  The Fair Housing Act this nation passed more than five decades ago has helped to address the injustices of segregation and discrimination but more work must be done. The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute will work with our many partners nationally and locally to protect the rights of families and individuals who may be harmed by this proposed rule change.”


About the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute:

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a nonprofit poverty law and policy center. It provides statewide advocacy and leadership in advancing laws, policies, and practices that secure economic, racial, and social justice for low-income people and communities. MLRI advances its mission through legal initiatives and policy reforms that address the root causes of poverty, remove barriers to opportunity, and create a path to economic stability for low-income individuals, families, and communities.

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