NFHA Releases 2017 Fair Housing Trends Report

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) released its 2018 Fair Housing Trends Report: Making Every Neighborhood a Place of Opportunity. The report examines some of the fair housing successes and challenges since the passage of the Fair Housing Act 50 years ago.

The report includes data on housing discrimination complaints from the past several decades for historical perspective. Since NFHA first started gathering data in 1996, more than a half-million housing discrimination complaints have been processed. Since accessibility requirements for new buildings went into effect in 1991, litigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and nonprofit fair housing organizations (FHOs) like NFHA have helped create more than 70,000 accessible multifamily housing units. FHOs, DOJ, and others have also fought redlining and discrimination in mortgage lending, resulting in almost $1 billion in compensation to individuals and communities since 1988.

In 2017, agencies filed 28,843 complaints of housing discrimination. The majority of these complaints were related to discrimination based on disabilities (57%), with another 19% based on race and 9% based on family status. As in previous years, FHOs processed the vast majority of these complaints (71.3 %). Discrimination is most common in the rental market, partly because rental transactions take place more frequently and because testing for bias is more straightforward in the rental market than in homeowner lending or sales. The report also highlights specific cases from 2017, including the Supreme Court ruling in Bank of America, et al. v City of Miami that upheld a city’s right to sue banks for harmful practices.

While the fair housing movement has seen a number of successes over the past 50 years, NFHA also identifies several current and looming challenges. The federal government’s refusal to fully enforce the Fair Housing Act continues to be a major obstacle, especially after the Trump administration’s recent decision to effectively suspend the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. Redlining, lending discrimination, and access to credit are still major barriers for people of color attempting to buy homes and build wealth. While some state and local jurisdictions have expanded protected classes, federal law does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or active-service member status, and other characteristics. NFHA also notes that recovery after the 2017 disaster season may present new fair housing challenges. The report provides lessons learned and guidance for moving forward.

Read the full report at: