This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

PRRAC Report Grades HUD On First-Term Fair Housing Progress

Says Steps Were Begun Towards More Inclusive Communities, But Much Work Remains Hopeful that Positive Start Will Continue in Obama's Second Term

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report by the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) credits the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for "reaffirming a broad commitment to fair housing," but notes that the task of reforming HUD's own programs has been "painstakingly slow"  during President Obama's first term.

The comprehensive review focuses on key HUD programs and the agency's mandate to promote racial integration in its own housing programs. The report also examines fair housing progress in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, where HUD shares regulatory authority with the Treasury Department.

"A flurry of positive activity inside the agency during the first term has not yet been reflected in final program regulations or guidance, even though some of this work has been underway for years," the report states.  "For this reason, our assessment of HUD's progress is mixed – but we are still hopeful that the agency's leadership will be able to expedite the completion of these needed reforms early in the second term." 

Philip Tegeler, PRRAC executive director, noted that there have been some significant policy implementations. "We know the leadership at HUD is committed to fair housing, which is why we are so frustrated by the slow pace of reform," said Mr. Tegeler, whose organization is a strong advocate for enforcing fair housing laws and ending residential segregation.  

Betsy Julian, a former HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing in the Clinton Administration and a current member of PRRAC's Board, said, "We have been very pleased with the Administration's stated support for fair housing goals, but ultimately, the results are what matter, and the jury is still out.  It is very important that someone is keeping track of what is happening behind closed doors at HUD."

Furthermore, Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Program and also a PRRAC Board member, said, "This report provides a blue print for the federal government in playing the vital role that it uniquely can play. Fair housing is the gateway to equal opportunity in many areas but is particularly important in relation to education. Segregated housing patterns too often relegate students of color to under-resourced schools which are segregated racially, ethnically and economically."

Specifically, the report reviews HUD's efforts to promote racial integration as part of the AFFH mandate across nine categories : 1) HUD's strategic plan, 2) new focus on fair housing in HUD competitive grants, 3) the "affirmatively furthering fair housing" regulation, 4) the "Sustainable Communities Initiative" (SCI), 5) Section 8 voucher reform—including small area FMRs and portability, 6) housing mobility programs, 7) the new Rental Assistance Demonstration, 8) the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, and 9) the Moving to Work (MTW) program.

The study's findings include that:

  • The HUD strategic plan's emphasis on "inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination" and the explicit emphasis on "decreasing the concentration of poverty and racial segregation" have helped to move reform efforts forward inside the agency.  But the treatment of fair housing as a coequal agency policy goal in the plan, rather than an overarching legal obligation, may perpetuate historical policy gridlock in the agency.
  • The proposed AFFH rule has received more extensive public input and engagement than any HUD regulation since the agency was founded.  Although the public engagement process with multiple stakeholders has been positive and constructive, HUD has delayed the release for too long – it is important to release and finalize the rule so that it can start being applied during the current administration's tenure.
  • A HUD regional planning program with a strong AFFH component has great potential to begin to undo patterns of segregation.  The Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) is probably the most innovative initiative of the agency's first term.  Yet, the planning framework for the SCI is thin on implementation, and it is unclear what kind of follow-through will be required in the regional plans.  The program has also been hampered by a lack of full support from Congress.
  • HUD is finally looking at the structural impediments to fair housing choice that are built into Section 8 voucher program design.  But so far, only one relevant proposed regulation has been released, and other action has been delayed. 

"Reforming HUD's programs is admittedly a challenge, and it has and will be a slow process," Mr. Tegeler said. "However, there was a lot of positive activity during the first term, and we are very hopeful that the agency's leadership will be in a position to expedite the completion of necessary reform early in the second term."

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,919.59 +80.85 0.48%
S&P 500 1,981.60 +9.86 0.50%
NASDAQ 4,527.5140 +19.2020 0.43%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs