Together with the national ACLU and our partners, we sued the Trump Administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over its attempt to gut fair housing protections under the Fair Housing Act. "Disparate impact" claims have helped for decades to dismantle systemic barriers to fair housing. These claims require housing providers, financial institutions, municipalities, and other corporations to eliminate policies that appear neutral but disproportionately limit housing opportunities for marginalized and vulnerable communities, including people of color, people with disabilities, families with children, and survivors of domestic violence.

The Trump Administration’s new HUD rule, which was set to go into effect in October, substantially rolls back these protections by creating unnecessary barriers for victims of housing discrimination attempting to prove claims against discriminatory housing practices.

If HUD succeeds in eliminating the current protections, a number of discriminatory practices could go unchecked, including: exclusionary zoning, landlords could evict survivors of domestic violence under policies punishing tenants for criminal activity in their homes or for calling the police; landlords could deny housing to anyone with any type of prior criminal record; public housing authorities could be prevented from giving housing vouchers to low-income people seeking to live in other neighborhoods, perpetuating racial segregation; and landlords could choose to rent out apartments by the room or impose overly restrictive occupancy limits, effectively shutting out families with children.

On October 22, the ACLU of Connecticut, together with the national American Civil Liberties Union, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, filed a lawsuit against HUD on behalf of the Connecticut-based Open Communities Alliance and SouthCoast Fair Housing of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the new HUD regulation, which would take away a critical tool for people to dismantle systemic barriers to fair housing and to fight to access and keep their homes.

[This story is part of our 2020 newsletter, which looks back at the past year and ahead to the unfinished work left in 2021. You can read the full newsletter here.]