Senator Cortez Masto Reintroduces Bill to Combat Housing Discrimination

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) on March 17 introduced S.769, the “Housing Fairness Act of 2021.” This bill, first introduced on December 3 (see Memo, 12/14/2020), would strengthen fair housing enforcement at HUD. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D- IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Bob Menendez (D-NY). S.769 is the Senate counterpart to H. 68 the “Housing Fairness Act of 2021,” reintroduced by Representative Al Green on January 4.

The Housing Fairness Act of 2021 would authorize $58 million annually from 2022 through 2026 and $70 million annually from 2027 through 2032 for HUD to make grants to states, localities, and nonprofit organizations to prevent discriminatory housing practices through the Fair Housing Initiatives Program. The bill would also authorize annual appropriations of $5 million from 2021 to 2025 for a competitive grant program for nonprofits to study the causes and effects of housing discrimination and to implement pilot projects to test approaches to preventing discrimination. Finally, the bill would require HUD to study the feasibility and effectiveness of converting the Fair Housing Initiatives Program into a non-competitive, entitlement program.

The bill would reaffirm HUD’s commitment to fair housing by increasing funding for fair housing programs, making improvements to the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, reinstating the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (see Memo, 07/27/2020), and providing additional funds for research into housing discrimination.

NLIHC supports this bill, and when it was introduced on December 3, NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel wrote:

“For four years, the Trump administration used every opportunity to gut our nation’s critical civil rights and fair housing laws, undermining efforts to undo historic and ongoing, government-driven patterns of housing discrimination and segregation throughout the U.S. Congress should immediately pass the Housing Fairness Act to rebuild HUD’s commitment to fair housing and civil rights and to take long-overdue steps towards racial equity.”

Read the Senate bill at:

Read the House version of the bill introduced by Representative Green, H. 68:

Press Release from Senator Cortez Masto:

More information about Fair Housing Programs can be found is on page 7-5 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide

More information about AFFH is on pages 7-147-217-27, and 7-35 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.