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March 2013 Bulletin Summaries

HUD Issues Long-Awaited Disparate Impact Regulation
In a major step forward for equal opportunity in housing, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued its long-awaited disparate impact regulation on February 8, 2013. The regulation, which goes into effect on March 18, 2013, reaffirms the well-established views of HUD and federal courts of appeals that disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and establishes a nationwide burden-shifting standard for establishing a disparate impact claim under the FHA. This article provides background and an overview of the regulation, as well as an analysis of its effects.

A Federal Renters’ Tax Credit: A New Way to Expand Housing Assistance for the Neediest Families
More and more low-income families struggle to afford the cost of housing, but federal rental assistance hasn’t grown to meet the need. In 2011, 8.5 million households with very low incomes faced what HUD terms “worst-case housing needs,” according to a Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of HUD data. This means that these households had no housing assistance and either paid more than half of their income for rent and utilities or lived in severely substandard housing. That was 2.6 million, or 43%, more than in 2007. This article makes the case for a federal renters’ tax credit.

Questions Corner
This Questions Corner considers two cases. First, a Public Housing Authority (PHA) is terminating a tenant’s voucher for committing “violent criminal activity” because her daughter pled guilty to possession of an illegal firearm. Can the PHA do that? And second, a tenant was denied admission from a Project-Based Section 8 unit due solely to a nine-year-old felony conviction. The project has a policy that denies admission to anyone convicted of a felony within the last 10 years. Is there a basis to appeal the denial?

Recent Housing Cases
This issue of the Bulletin contains a brief summary of recent significant state and federal court decisions relating to affordable housing issues.

Recent Regulations and Notices
This issue of the Bulletin includes a brief summary of significant proposed and final regulations recently published in the Federal Register by federal housing agencies as well as summaries of other published notices and handbook changes recently made by HUD, RHS and other agencies administering affordable housing programs.

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