President Lyndon Johnson signs the Fair Housing Act in 1968.

ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing executive director Stockton Williams and vp Maya Brennan contribute analysis of two big new changes for fair housing--the Disparate Impact Decision and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule--and their potential to impact lingering areas of racial segregation and unfair protection of some communities.

The Disparate Impact Decision, a Supreme Court ruling that affirmed that the FHA (Fair Housing Act) applies to acts of discrimination in housing, even if they are unintentional, under the principle of “disparate impact.”

The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, a HUD policy change, provides guidance on the Fair Housing Act provision, which “requires jurisdictions to take actions that can undo historic patterns of segregation and other types of discrimination, as well as to take actions to promote fair housing choice and foster inclusive communities.

The authors write:

The changes by both the Court and HUD direct the development community to let evidence guide the way in breaking down segregation. Extensive research documents the connection between certain types of housing policies and programs and disparate impacts by race or ethnicity. But not all connections are causal. To stay on the right side of the disparate impact decision and to be effective in using HUD funds to remedy segregation, developers, planners, policy makers, and advocates need to know whether a practice is shown to cause differential outcomes and opportunities.

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