On April 21st, 2022, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) released two documents designed to clarify the necessary steps to ensure that a HUD-subsidized multifamily property is in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs that receive federal financial assistance. The law doesn’t just cover intentional discrimination but also protects against unintentional discrimination that results from employing policies and practices that appear facially neutral but have a limiting effect on minorities.
The first document, FHEO Guidance on Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in Marketing and Application Processing at Subsidized Multifamily Properties presents background information and basic information including the “Dos” and “Don’ts” of marketing, application procedures, applicant screening, and waiting lists.
The second document, Implementation Sheet for HUD’s Title VI Guidance Regarding Marketing and Application Processing at Subsidized Multifamily Properties provides bullet-point lists of practices that perpetuate segregation and can result in discriminatory effects and examples of practices that are more inclusive and open housing opportunities to persons of all races, colors, and national origins.
While none of these suggestions are “requirements” under the law, following HUD’s guidance in these two documents will help ensure that your housing program is open to all.
Some examples of more inclusive policies include:
- Marketing the opening of a waiting list for a minimum of 60 days in a variety of media sources. Be sure to market in those sources listed in your Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan (AFHMP).
- Opening waiting lists for several weeks instead of a few hours or a few days.
- Allowing applicants to access and return applications in a variety of ways including online, in person, through the mail etc.
- Using a lottery system to place applicants on the waiting list instead of a “first come first serve system”.
NCHM recommends that you review the two HUD documents and then discuss potential changes to your Tenant Selection Policy (TSP) with your supervisor or management company. Remember, applicants and residents must be notified of any changes to your Tenant Selection Policy.
The press release with links to the two documents is found here: https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_22_074
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