Equitable Housing Being Preempted by Legislatures Throughout the Country

Searchable Map Highlights Prominent Examples of Local Affordable Housing Efforts Blunted by Preemption

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Washington, D.C. — A majority of state legislatures are using preemption laws to block local equitable housing policies, worsening the lack of affordable housing throughout the country. Click here to see the interactive map

 

Thirty-three out of fifty states have passed short-term rental, rent control, income discrimination, or inclusionary zoning preemption, according to a new, searchable map released by the Local Solutions Support Center with support from Grounded Solutions Network, Partnership for Working FamiliesPoverty & Race Research Action CouncilNational Fair Housing Alliance, and the Urban Law Center.

 

“The Fair Housing Act was passed 50 years ago,  but today millions of families are still struggling to afford a home. As rents continue to rise, more working families can’t find high-quality, affordable homes,said Kim Haddow, director of the Local Solutions Support Center. Instead of allowing cities to tackle this problem locally, states are using preemption laws to stop local governments from addressing the housing crisis that’s touching every corner of the nation.”

 

Examples of preemption legislation blocking local equitable housing includes:

“As cities are innovating to try to solve the continuing crisis in fair and affordable housing across the country, it is important to recognize the challenge that state interference poses to their ability to do so,” saidNestor DavidsonFaculty Director at Fordham University Urban Law Center. “In truth, cities and states should be partners in advancing equitable housing opportunity, and there are models out there for how this can be achieved, but at the very least, states should not stand in the way of local governments solving the pressing problems they face—as they are doing in far too many places.”

Right now, one in six families in the United States spends more than half of their income on housing. This often forces families to forego other necessities, including food and medicine.

Peter KyeLaw & Policy Associate with Poverty & Race Research Action Council said, “the source of income discrimination in the housing market is a pervasive problem that is unfortunately sanctioned in many places across our country. This discrimination robs millions of low-income families of true housing choice and exacerbates the concentration of poverty in low-opportunity neighborhoods.”

 

By 2025, the number of families that spend at least half of their income on rent will reach 13 million, according to recent projections.

 

“It is wrong to use state power to protect profits while millions are without a secure place to live,” said Ben Beach, Partnership for Working Families Legal Director. “The lack of affordable housing disproportionately affects people of color, older people, and people living on low incomes.”

 

Fair housing is at a pivotal point: communities across the nation are proposing and instituting long-term, thoughtful, and targeted approaches to deal with the nation’s legacy of segregation, housing discrimination and the affordable housing crisis,” said Lisa Rice, President & CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “The survival of our neighborhoods and communities depends on it.”