The Baltimore Metropolitan Council assists local governments and public housing authorities (PHAs) in the region in carrying out their duty to affirmatively further fair housing under the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Federal Fair Housing Act
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and family status. It also states that "The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall ... administer the programs and activities relating to housing an urban development in a manner to affirmatively further the policies" of the law. Because of federal support for racial segregation in the mid-20th century, Congress legislated in 1968 that the government needed to go further than just removing that support.
Implications for Local Governments and Housing Authorities
Because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants funds to states, local governments, and PHAs each year, HUD passes Congress's affirmative obligation onto its grantees. In order to receive federal housing funds, grantees must sign a certification that they are administering their own programs related to housing and urban development in a way that affirmatively furthers the policies of the Fair Housing Act.
A 2015 rule from HUD, based on many court rulings under the Fair Housing Act, says, “Affirmatively furthering fair housing means taking meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics.”
Fair Housing Plans and Action Steps
Since 2012, BMC has assisted local governments and PHAs in in developing plans and carrying out actions related to their affirmative fair housing responsibilities:
- Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI): Check this page for more information on Baltimore-area local government and PHA collaboration to create a 2019 Regional AI, including opportunities for public input. It also includes information on implementation of the 2012 Baltimore Regional AI.
- Rental Home Affordability Preservation Policy and Task Force: In 2016 the region's housing agencies adopted a new Regional Preservation Policy and created this Task Force to implement it.
- Regional Housing Plan and Fair Housing Equity Assessment: Created by the Opportunity Collaborative Housing Committee in 2014 through a HUD Sustainable Communities grant.
- Regional Project-Based Voucher Program: Created through a 2015 seed grant from HUD to the Howard County Housing Commission.