Realizing the Promise: How to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing


Fair housing is critical to realizing the national principle of equal opportunity. This report discusses the legal obligation of the federal government, as well as state and municipal recipients of federal funds, to affirmatively further fair housing. This obligation, if fulfilled, would ensure that programs receiving federal funds prevent discrimination, foster inclusion, and expand opportunity. After decades of widespread failure to comply with civil rights law, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has proposed a regulation that would affirm and strengthen the affirmative obligation. There have also been multiple successes in affirmatively furthering fair housing. These experiences provide us with foundational lessons on what municipalities can do to comply with fair housing law and expand opportunity for all.


This report was written by Diego Iñiguez-Lopez, Robert L. Carter Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda. Special thanks to those who contributed to the analysis, review, and editing of the report, including Megan Haberle, Policy Counsel at the Poverty & Race Research Action Council; Adam M. Gordon, Staff Attorney at the Fair Share Housing Center; Debby Goldberg, Special Project Director at the National Fair Housing Alliance; Rob Breymaier, Executive Director at the Oak Park Regional Housing Center; Kate Scott, Assistant Director at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center; David Zisser, Staff Attorney at the Public Advocates; and Victor Monterrosa Jr., Organizer at the Greater Newark HUD Tenants Coalition. Additional thanks go to Christopher Carter, Fordham University School of Law class of 2015, for his help with research. This report was designed and produced by Jill Bailin and Erik Moe.

The Opportunity Agenda’s Home Opportunity initiative is funded with support from the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The JPB Foundation. The statements made and views expressed are those of The Opportunity Agenda.