Congressman Al Green Passes H.R. 149, the Housing Fairness Act of 2019, at Financial Services Bill Markup

Feb 28, 2020 Issues: Financial Services, Housing

(Washington, D.C.) – On Friday, February 28, 2020, Congressman Al Green’s bill – the Housing Fairness Act of 2019 – passed out of the Financial Services Committee with a 33 to 25 vote. Congressman Green released the following statement:

“More than 50 years ago, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was enacted to protect all Americans from invidious discrimination in housing. Unfortunately, Newsday’s 2019 testing investigation report on Long Island real estate practices highlighted an alarming unfairness in housing that continues to persist. The report revealed a 19% rate of housing discrimination against Asian Americans, 39% rate of housing discrimination against Latinos, and 49% rate of housing discrimination against African Americans. H.R. 149, the Housing Fairness Act of 2019, aims to stop this phenomenon by increasing funding for existing fair housing programs as well as providing additional funds for much-needed research into the various types of housing discrimination.

“This bill would provide a $735 million funding increase for: 1) nationwide testing for discrimination in housing, 2) qualified private nonprofit fair housing enforcement organizations, 3) increased funding for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), and 4) grants to private entities to study housing discrimination. The nationwide testing required would detect and document disparate treatment of persons seeking housing opportunities, measure patterns of adverse treatment, as well as measure the prevalence and nature of discriminatory practices.

“Increasing funding would permit FHIP to continue investigating the lion-share of fair housing complaints without interruption while yielding more attention to sophisticated testing for housing discrimination. An increase would also provide for essential housing discrimination research – including evaluation of the harms of residential segregation - so that we may work toward finding more effective solutions to existing fair housing problems. Such research could help build the case for the expansion of fair housing rights as the housing market evolves.

“I thank each of my colleagues that cosponsored H.R. 149 as well as the National Fair Housing Alliance, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Center for Responsible Lending, National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Association of Realtors, Asian Real Estate Association of America, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Appraisal Institute, Americans for Financial Reform, and National CAPACD for their organizational support. Additionally, I thank Chairwoman Maxine Waters for her tireless leadership in working to end discriminatory financial practices in the United States. No one should have to endure unnecessary scrutiny and bias as they attempt to rent or buy homes, obtain a mortgage, or seek housing assistance. I look forward to seeing this bill pass the full House of Representatives and hope to see it become law.”