Fair Housing

The Civil Rights Act of 1968, Title VIII, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3601) states that it is the policy of the United States to provide fair housing throughout the country.  This act prohibits discrimination in housing, including the sale, rental, negotiations for, terms and conditions, and services related thereto.  Discrimination is prohibited on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex and gender, physical or mental disability, and presence of children in families, and also provide people with disabilities the right to reasonable accommodations defined as a change in policy, practice or procedure, needed by a person with a disability because of their disability and a right to reasonable modifications when such modifications are needed because of the person's disability and would enable the person to fully enjoy the home they occupy.

Nationally, fair housing and impediments to fair housing are monitored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  HUD's fundamental fair housing goal is to make fair housing choice a reality through proactive planning and intervention.  HUD mandates fair housing planning through the Community Development Block Grant.  Each grantee, such as the City of Hot Springs, that receives CDBG funding under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act is required to further fair housing and fair housing planning by conducting an analysis of impediments to fair housing choice in areas within its jurisdiction.  The city is also required to take appropriate actions to overcome the effects of any impediments identified and maintain records that record and reflect the analysis and actions taken in this regard.

Within the legal framework of federal and state laws and based on guidance provided by the HUD Fair Housing Planning guide, impediments to fair housing are defined as:

1. Actions, omissions or decisions that have the effect of restricting housing choices or the availability of housing choices on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, marital status, familial status, national origin, race, religion, sex, presence or absence of dependents, or public assistance source of income.

2. Policies, practices, or procedures that appear neutral on their face, but which operate to deny or adversely affect the availability of housing to persons because of race, ethnicity, disability, and families with children may constitute such impediments.

3. Impediments to fair housing choice include actions or omissions that are counterproductive to fair housing choice, such as community resistance when minorities, persons with disabilities and/or low-income persons first move into white and/or moderate- to high-income areas -or- community resistance to the siting of housing facilities for persons with disabilities because of the persons who will occupy the housing. 

Fair Housing and Affordable Housing: The notion of fair housing is sometimes confused with that of affordable housing.  Affordable housing refers to the ability of persons/households/families to buy or rent housing, based on income; the term is also used to describe housing for low-income households.  Thus the two concepts of fair housing and affordable housing, while intertwined, are distinctly different.  An Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice study is not a study of affordable housing.

The City of Hot Springs, in collaboration with the Hot Springs Housing Authority, will conduct an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice study beginning in the spring of 2018. 

Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing