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Facebook Among Targets of HUD's Latest Round of Fair Housing Enforcement

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is taking on one big fish and a few little fish in the battle against housing discrimination.
August 22, 2018, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a slew of fair housing actions, just a few days after announcing it would rewrite the Affirmatively Furthering Act, a key tool for created by the Obama administration enforcing the Fair Housing Act.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson promoted the announcements via Twitter, saying the actions are a part of the department's commitment against housing discrimination.

The actions would seem to counter complaints that HUD is doing very little to enforce fair housing enforcement.  

Among the five press releases published between Friday, August 17 and Tuesday, August 21, comes news that HUD has filed a complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination.

"In addition, today the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) filed a statement of interest, joined in by HUD, in U.S. District Court on behalf of a number of private litigants challenging Facebook's advertising platform," according to the press release. The National Fair Housing Association; the Fair Housing Justice Center of New York City; the Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. in Miami; and the Fair Housing Council of Greater San Antonio filed a lawsuit against Facebook in March.

HUD also charged owners of an apartment complex in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a property owner in Granby, Massachusetts, and a homeowner in Beltrami County, Minnesota, with various forms of discrimination. The announcement also include a Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement with Christian Church Homes and Garfield Park Village, LP, in Oakland and Santa Cruz, California.

Another announcement not included in Secretary Carson's Twitter message details a new HUD task force "to encourage more landlords to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program." More coverage on the task force is available in an article by Katie Pyzyk. Although vouchers aren't directly related to fair housing enforcement, vouchers still create opportunities for landlords to discriminate, as reported in a new study by the Urban Institute and detailed in an article by Andrea Riquier.

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Published on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
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