Secretary Fudge Delivers Remarks at Fair Housing Month Virtual Ceremony

HUD No. 22-061
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685
FOR RELEASE
Wednesday
April 6, 2022

Secretary Fudge Delivers Remarks at Fair Housing Month Virtual Ceremony

WASHINGTON – Secretary Marcia L. Fudge on Tuesday delivered virtual remarks at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity annual Fair Housing Month Ceremony.

View the recording of Tuesday’s Fair Housing Month Ceremony here.

Remarks as delivered by Secretary Fudge:

I am thrilled to join you to commemorate the 54th anniversary of a law that guarantees one of our most basic rights—the right to be free from housing discrimination.

On April 11, 1968, 54 years ago, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law.

The Fair Housing Act recognized what generations have known—that where we live impacts nearly every part of our lives from the schools our children attend; to access to jobs; to the health care we receive; and the air we breathe.

As you may know, the Fair Housing Act was born out of the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, just the day before the bill passed the Senate, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. King fought for fair housing for so, so many years.

Black and brown members of the armed forces were returning home from the Vietnam war, unable to reap the same benefits of the GI bill, unable to rent or purchase the same homes at the same prices in the same neighborhoods as their white counterparts.

The Fair Housing Act is very much a piece of Dr. King’s legacy.

54 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, access to the security and wealth a stable home can provide remains persistently unequal.

But it is a new day.

Under this Administration, HUD is working to make real the promises of the Fair Housing Act. I am proud to say that over the last year, we have taken action to tackle the root causes of discrimination in housing.

In his first week in office, President Biden issued a directive that HUD take actions that undo historic patterns of segregation and other types of discrimination in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing. Last year, HUD published an interim final rule that requires every local government that accepts federal housing dollars to certify compliance on affirmatively furthering fair housing. HUD is also in the process of designing a rule, in consultation with stakeholders, to more comprehensively implement the “affirmatively furthering fair housing” requirement. We look forward to sharing more on this in the coming months.

We know the COVID-19 pandemic worsened our nation’s already severe housing crisis. However, I am pleased to share that thanks to the American Rescue Plan, HUD has made available more than $67 million in grants and annual appropriations to our partners committed to fighting fair housing discrimination, including pandemic-related housing discrimination.

Next, we know that every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. In February 2021, HUD clarified—for the first time—that the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

This past year, we have seen more people than ever seek protection under the Fair Housing Act for discrimination they have faced due to their gender identity or sexual orientation.

HUD is committed to combatting this unfair and unlawful discrimination.

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order that directed every federal agency to explore solutions for advancing racial equity.

HUD takes that mandate seriously.

In a step to address discrimination in the housing market, HUD made clear that the use of certain Special Purpose Credit Programs to help address inequities in barriers to credit and, or homeownership are lawful under the Fair Housing Act

In July, HUD, along with the Domestic Policy Council, launched the Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity, or PAVE, a first-of-its kind interagency task force to combat bias in the housing market. The PAVE Task Force is taking bold, concerted action to close America’s racial wealth gap by rooting out systemic racism from our housing appraisal market.

In a bit, you will hear Melody Taylor, the Executive Director of PAVE. Melody has been a force within HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for more than 20 years and I look forward to her sharing the accomplishments and vision of this initiative.

I want to thank Demetria, Melody, and the rest of the team at the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, for their important work.

I also want to recognize the stakeholders who are critical partners in continuing to promote fairness, inclusion, and justice in housing.

We can and will do everything in our power to ensure everyone has a fair shot at the American dream.

Together, we can make major strides toward forging a more equitable America.