Citing a poor enforcement track record and continued racial segregation in the country, a fair housing policy commission co-chaired by former U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretaries Jack Kemp and Henry Cisneros called late last year for HUD to be stripped of its fair housing enforcement and outreach authorities.
“HUD cannot effectively enforce fair housing,” Cisneros said in announcing the policy recommendations of “The Future of Fair Housing,” a report released by the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. The report is the result of a year-long study that included public hearings in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, and Houston. “The only way to address this problem is with the establishment of an independent, effective, impartial enforcement agency,” Cisneros said. “It isn’t a pipedream; it can be done.”
That new agency would investigate all fair housing complaints; educate the public about its fair housing rights and responsibilities; and work with the industry to proactively address fair housing concerns.
HUD, meanwhile, counters that the department had never been more aggressive in enforcing the Fair Housing Act than it is right now. The report can be downloaded online (www.civilrights.org).