|HUD No. 00-222|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Monday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||August 14, 2000|
|Treasurey: Bill Buck 202/622-2960|
|Justice: Kara Peterman 202/514-2007|
|HUD: Peggy Johannsen 202/708-0980|
STEPS TO INCREASE FAIR HOUSING ACT COMPLIANCE ANNOUNCED
The Departments of Treasury, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development announced steps today to ensure that low-income housing tax credit projects are in compliance with the Fair Housing Act.
"The low-income housing tax credit has led to the creation of more than one million units of affordable housing for low-income Americans," said Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers. "This agreement will help to ensure that discrimination is not a barrier to affordable housing for any American."
"Housing discrimination should not pay," said HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. "This agreement preserves an important source of low-income housing while ensuring that those who reap the program's financial benefits respect America's fair housing laws."
"No one should face discrimination when trying to find a home," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "We hope this agreement will help expand housing opportunities by bringing together Federal agencies to enforce civil rights laws."
Under this agreement, the Departments of Treasury, Justice, and HUD will establish a monitoring and compliance process to ensure that low-income housing tax credit properties meet the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Justice and HUD will provide notice to the IRS and state housing finance agencies of enforcement actions brought under the Fair Housing Act involving tax-credit property owners. The IRS, in turn, will notify involved property owners that a finding of discrimination could result in the loss of tax credits.
The federal agencies will work together and with the private sector so that properties are built and operated in a manner consistent with the Fair Housing Act. They will also hold annual meetings to discuss emerging civil rights issues and new methods to increase civil rights compliance in the tax credit program.
Training and technical assistance, designed to enhance Fair Housing Act compliance practices, will be made available to state housing finance agencies, developers, property managers, and other relevant participants in low-income housing tax credit projects from the time of construction through the operational life of a low-income residential property.
Administered by the Internal Revenue Service with the 50 state housing finance agencies, the low-income housing tax credit program creates affordable residential rental housing through a federal income tax credit. The low-income housing tax credit program has led to the construction, rehabilitation, or acquisition of more than one million units of affordable residential rental housing for low-income families in the U.S. since 1986.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, and family status. The Departments of HUD and Justice have joint responsibility for enforcing the Fair Housing Act. HUD, working with state and local agencies who administer equivalent fair housing laws, receives, investigates, and attempts to resolve by settlement more than 6,000 housing discrimination complaints per year. Upon referral from HUD or where there is a pattern or practice of discrimination, Justice enforces the Fair Housing Act by filing lawsuits in federal court.