The FHJC designs, promotes, and advocates for policies and programs that further its mission.
- EXPAND HOUSING CHOICE
Work to ensure that all people, including populations whose housing choices have historically been restricted or are currently limited, are better able to access and enjoy the full range of housing opportunities and communities that exist in the region. Place matters. Expanding housing choice can increase access to opportunities, reduce inequalities, and enable people to enjoy the social, professional, and economic benefits of integrated living.
- AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHER FAIR HOUSING TO CREATE MORE OPEN, ACCESSIBLE, AND INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES
Reduce residential racial segregation, promote equitable development including in communities that have been historically disinvested or continue to be deprived of resources, amenities, benefits, and/or services, and foster the creation of more open, accessible, and inclusive communities. Residential segregation, concentrated poverty, and housing discrimination contributes to increased homelessness, fuels gentrification and displacement, and nourishes a host of other harmful social, educational, and economic inequalities. Efforts to affirmatively further fair housing should be aimed at dismantling barriers to housing choice, promoting residential integration, and repairing the harm that has been and continues to be inflicted on people and communities of color.
- STRENGTHEN FAIR HOUSING ENFORCEMENT
Ensure that populations facing housing discrimination are adequately protected and that fair housing laws are vigorously enforced. The current passive, largely complaint-responsive, and under-resourced approach to government enforcement fails to document subtle and systemic forms of housing discrimination and leaves some of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations unprotected. A more pro-active, systemic, and well-resourced enforcement approach, with testing as the centerpiece, can more effectively document and eliminate discriminatory housing practices and achieve greater compliance with fair housing laws.
2024-2025 Policy Priorities
Strengthening Enforcement of Fair Housing Laws
- Increased Engagement and Funding for Testing and Fair Housing Enforcement
We will increase our engagement with local, state, and federal government enforcement and advocate for increased funding for qualified, full-service fair housing organizations with expertise in systemic fair housing testing and other fair housing enforcement expertise.
- Full Enforcement of Accessibility Requirements
We back stronger regulation of adult homes and assisted living programs by local, state, and federal government agencies. We will advocate for proactive state and local government inspection of construction plans and new developments to ensure compliance with applicable accessibility requirements and the abandonment of “self-certification” by architects, engineers, or developers.
- Strengthen Vicarious Liability in the New York State Human Rights Law
We encourage New York State to amend Section 296 of the Executive Law to expressly identify vicarious liability as a theory of liability for housing discrimination prohibited by the New York State Human Rights Law. This will allow housing owners and residential real estate agencies, in appropriate circumstances, to be held accountable for the discriminatory conduct of their agents, which will increase compliance with the nondiscrimination law and help to facilitate systemic change.
- Champion Co-op Disclosure Laws
We urge the enactment of state and local “Co-op Disclosure” laws, which would require housing cooperatives to provide upon request, in writing, the reason(s) for rejecting a prospective buyer/renter.
- Regulate Tenant Screening Services
Tenant screening practices are creating discriminatory barriers to housing access by using inaccurate information, overbroad screening criteria, and algorithmically generated risk scores that lack transparency, accountability, or relevancy, among other suspect practices. We will advocate for regulation and oversight of tenant screening services to protect all renters, with the goal of ensuring equal access to housing, including for those disparately harmed by the screening practices such as people of color, people with disabilities, and people who rely on government assistance.
Eliminating Housing Discrimination
- Add “Conviction Record” to State, City, and Local Laws
The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on arrest records in housing decisions. We support including “conviction record” as a protected characteristic in housing discrimination provisions in state, city, and local laws.
- Fortify State Law Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Source of Income
We support legislation to clarify and strengthen source of income provisions in the New York State Human Rights Law. For example, housing providers continue to exclude renters who rely on government assistance by requiring unnecessary background checks and imposing overly rigid income requirements despite the applicant’s secure source of income to pay the rent.
- Fight Credit Discrimination
We will advocate for the passage of State legislation that will prohibit residential landlords from automatically denying applicants based on their credit history or score.
- Improve Homeowner and Tenant Protections
We support the enactment of state and local prohibitions of deceptive, predatory, or unfair practices that have a discriminatory effect in the rental and sales market, such as predatory evictions or the non-renewal of residential leases.
- Encourage the passage of a Federal Source of Income Law
We support the enactment of federal law to protect millions of Americans from being denied housing because of their lawful source of income, including recipients of federal, state, and local government assistance.
- Restrict Housing Providers from Demanding Brokers’ Fees
Existing Statutes allow housing providers, such as landlords, sub-lessors, and grantors to charge voucher or subsidy holders brokers’ fees. This ultimately deters and restricts individuals and families who use government housing assistance from accessing housing opportunities. We support legislation prohibiting housing providers from charging prospective tenants brokers’ fees.
Fostering Inclusive Communities
- Advance a Statewide “Equitable Share” Housing Plan
We seek the enactment of a statewide “Equitable Share” legislative housing plan, which would mandate every community to ensure that at least 10% of its existing housing stock is affordable.
- Establish a New York State Zoning Appeals Board
We support legislation that would create a Zoning Appeals Board with the authority to override local zoning laws that are discriminatory or present a barrier to the development of affordable housing.
- Expand Housing Mobility Assistance Programs
We encourage the expansion of mobility assistance programs, to assist housing voucher holders access housing opportunities in well-resourced neighborhoods and communities.
- Legalize and Increase Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
We support the inclusion of fair housing protections in any legislation regarding the regulation, oversight, and production of safe, habitable, and environmentally sound Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which have the potential to expand housing supply and create more inclusive communities.
- Link Fair Housing Advocacy to School Integration
We advocate for more targeted fair housing enforcement in areas that have well-resourced schools so that increased housing opportunities are opened to people of color.
Examples of Policy Work
Below are examples of some of the ways FHJC has been working to advance these policy priorities:
- The FHJC and Enterprise Community Partners collaborated to convene a Regional Affordable and Fair Housing Roundtable to explore housing issues across the region and find policy areas of common concern. Click here to learn more about the work of the Roundtable. Click here to download the Roundtable’s policy agenda, “Closing the Divide: Creating Equitable, Inclusive and Affordable Communities.”
- The FHJC is a member of the Alliance for School Integration and Desegregation (ASID), whose mission is to advocate for racial and socioeconomic New York City city-wide school desegregation and integration. Click here to read ASID’s Policy Agenda. Click here to read the FHJC’s public testimony on “Diversity in New York City Schools,” presented by FHJC’s former Policy Coordinator Chanera Pierce to the NYC Council’s Education Committee on December 7, 2017. You can also learn more about ASID by visiting https://www.nycasid.com/.
- The FHJC advocated for, and is supporting, New York City’s efforts to push forward with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) process. Click here to read the FHJC’s public testimony to the NYC Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, presented by FHJC’s former Policy Coordinator Chanera Pierce on April 10, 2018.
- The FHJC has submitted comments in response Notices of Proposed Rulemaking from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Read the FHJC’s comments in response to HUD’s August 16, 2018, Federal Register Notice, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Streamlining and Enhancements.” Read the FHJC’s comments in response to HUD’s June 20, 2018 Federal Register Notice, “Reconsideration of HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard.” Also read the FHJC’s comments in response to HUD’s May 23, 2018 Federal Register Notice, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Withdrawal of the Assessment Tool for Local Governments.”
- The FHJC advocated at the city-level for a cooperative disclosure law, which would require co-ops to identify and disclose, in a timely manner, the specific reason or reasons for rejecting an applicant. Click here to read the FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg’s public testimony on this law from November 8, 2017.
- The FHJC has provided public comment, both as an individual organization and as part of a larger network of fair housing groups, on the city- and state-wide Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs). Click here to read the FHJC’s comments to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Click here to read the New York State Fair Housing Network’s comments on the two of the State’s QAP plans to New York State’s Department of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).