Representatives Waters and Ellison Call for Fair Housing Hearing

Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) sent a letter to Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling on March 16 calling for HUD Secretary Ben Carson to appear before the committee for a hearing on housing discrimination. The request is in part a response to a March 5 Memo regarding Dr. Carson’s consideration of removing from HUD’s mission statement references to creating “inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.” The Financial Services Committee has oversight jurisdiction over HUD, including the responsibility to ensure the agency and federal government are enforcing the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Ms. Waters and Mr. Ellison’s letter states that “the Committee should also assess whether Secretary Carson disagrees with the HUD Secretary’s statutory obligations under the Fair Housing Act.” The letter also cites a recent study from the Center for Investigative Reporting that shows African American and Latino borrowers are denied mortgage loans at higher rates than white borrowers.

Following the March 5 memo, the Fair Housing Task Force (FHTF), of which NLIHC is a member, submitted a letter to Dr. Carson signed by 573 organizations and individuals – 164 national organizations and 409 state and local groups and individuals – condemning HUD’s proposal to drop the anti-discrimination language. The letter states in part: “We urge you in the strongest possible terms to reverse course and retain language in your agency’s mission statement that reflects one of HUD’s most important responsibilities: enforcement and promotion of the Fair Housing Act. Many of our organizations worked diligently with HUD to ensure that this language would be included in HUD’s mission statement as a public acknowledgement that this part of HUD’s responsibilities is every bit as important as its role in providing resources for housing and community development.”

Read Representatives Waters and Ellison’s letter at:

Read the Fair Housing Task Force letter at: