Everyone should have the opportunity for a place to call home. Where we live impacts every aspect of our lives — access to good jobs, quality schools, and a clean, secure, and healthy environment. The Fair Housing Act has worked for more than 50 years to eliminate barriers to housing and promote opportunity for women, people of color, families with children, people with disabilities, and more communities. As our nation becomes more diverse in every way, the Fair Housing Act helps to foster stronger and more inclusive communities, which are critical to our collective success and prosperity.
As many of you know, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a proposed rule that, if finalized and implemented, would significantly roll back a vital protection against housing segregation and discrimination. Specifically, the proposed rule would erode the disparate impact legal theory used to protect against housing discrimination. The disparate-impact theory has been critical in advancing access to safe, affordable, and stable housing for women, women of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, gender-based violence survivors, families with children, people with disabilities, and so many more. Disparate impact is also used in education, health care, employment, environment, and other contexts, and we do not anticipate the Trump Administration stopping its civil rights attacks with housing. We must join together to maintain the full force of our federal civil rights laws, including the Fair Housing Act, because racial, gender, and other forms of discrimination still persist. Longstanding protections against inequality are more important than ever. We must fight any efforts to take away the rights that we all share and hold dear.
This proposed rule has multiple ripple effects, with housing impacting every aspect of our lives and the attack on disparate impact in housing potentially trickling to disparate impact in other sectors as well. HUD must read every unique comment before they can issue a final rule. To help slow down the rulemaking process and help build strong opposition so this proposal hopefully never goes into effect, we urge you to engage in this critical comment period through Friday, October 18 in any of the following ways:
- Tailor this gender justice organizational template developed by the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the National Women’s Law Centerto align with your organization’s mission. Please remember to modify, reorder, expand the language in the template so your comment is counted as unique and read by HUD to slow down this rulemaking process. You can also add content from other sector templates including the LGBTQ community (thanks National LGBTQ Task Force and Lambda Legal!), education, fair housing, gender-based violence, transportation, and many more on the way at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1EOQvBEXoXUUvS9MKC3X72se_BGG17vgw.
- Is the gender justice organizational template too long for you to adapt to make it unique? Never fear! You can adapt this 3-page templateACLU developed into your own organizational comment.
- Help facilitate mass individual comments by sharing the NWLC comment portal or these partner coalition portals: Defend Civil Rights and #FightforHousingJustice
- Join the #DefendCivilRights tweetstorm on Monday, October 7 from 2-3PMET. Access the toolkit here.
- Host a commenting party!
- Share these engagement opportunities with your network to encourage them to submit comments as well.
This is an attack on women, children, and families. Together we can raise our voices to protect the core values we hold so dear in this country. We hope your organization will engage in this comment campaign, and please reach out to Sandra Park ([email protected]) or Linda Morris ([email protected]) of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and/or Sarah Hassmer ([email protected]) of the National Women’s Law Center if you have any questions.