Fair Housing Act Essay

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Practicum Report: Assessment of Fair Housing Act using a Normative Policy Evaluation Method

Summary

I considered this as a great opportunity for exploring the role played by the public policy practitioner in the Public Housing sector. I got to assess the Fair Housing Act, via a normative policy evaluation methodology. Collection of data was achieved through observation and literature review of materials that included policy guidelines as well as records for the housing agency. It is clear from the assessment of programs and processes that XXXX Housing Agency obeys all the state and federal conditions on housing, such as the Fair Housing Act. Nonetheless, in order to improve the Act and make it even more accommodating for the smaller groups, the following recommendations are suggested; (1) HUD should supervise and impose grantee’s jurisdiction-wide favorable fair housing responsibilities via a reviewed Analysis of Impediments procedure. (2) The HUD needs fund beneficiaries to carry out and present periodic evaluations of the Act as well as other federally-safeguarded equal opportunity effects of particular activities and programs embarked on with federal resources. (3) Both program-specific and jurisdiction-wide processes include the consideration of housing opportunity indicators backed by established experience and studies; and (4) the HUD should supplement technical aid and requirements of submission to fund beneficiaries with a meticulous system of surprise, periodic audits of a subsection of beneficiaries as well as applicants to be selected via random selection together with other factors.

Introduction

The Fair Housing Act forbids discrimination, limitation, or preference because of gender, race, nationality, disability, family status, color, or whichever intentions to display such discrimination, preferences, and limitations. The American Congress approved the federal act that falls under the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department back in 1968 and 1988 (Hoosier State Press Association., 2019). The Indiana Fair Act also got approved in the year 1990. The two acts impact the following: renters or sellers of a property, agents taking part in the renting and sale of the property, as well as the media of advertising. A lawsuit that involves advertising can be filed against the individual who is involved in the writing and placement of the advert together with the owner and management of the property, publication, and newspaper. The Fair Housing Act does not include buildings that have less than four units and their owner lives there, and those who own single family homes (Hoosier State Press Association., 2019). The Fair Housing Act becomes relevant of a property’s owner uses a broker and also takes part in unfair advertising.

Significance of the practicum

Every government agency and jurisdiction should focus on fair housing responsibilities. This project concentrates on fair housing responsibilities for departments of housing. A city’s implementation of the fair housing policy encounters practical considerations and several varying needs, which are already influencing the city decision-makers and personnel. For instance: societies are ever changing. They are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, with immigrant families, colored people, and handicapped individuals making up considerable fractions of societies. The raises the chances of fair housing concerns emerging. An increased number of people of color are now staying in the suburbs, and the portion of those living in abject poverty is increasing as well. Cities are opening up themselves to accountability if they do not have an understanding of their duties under the fair housing policy. Cities ought to be ready if unanticipated situations surface requiring fair housing response or evaluation.

Learning objectives and expected outcomes

This practicum gave the opportunity to review current procedures and policies concluding in a procedures and policy manual that helped in the issues of non-conformance, challenges of application, and concerns of policy restriction experienced by the housing agency. The course material alerted me that taking a look at social issues could be more complicated than what actually meets the eye. I had to understand and always bear in mind that an issue could have several underlying and systemic issues that need similar attention.

Public policy is created as a reaction to issues that need to be taken care of by decision-makers. These policies come in the form of laws and regulations. They can be created by whichever government body; from the city council to the president. The aim of public policy might be totally inseparable from its source. Both the government and the public policy help in the realization of societal needs as well as basic responsibilities (Dye, 2017). Policies determine how communities, states, and countries control their funds.
They also assist in maintaining social order. The policy making process is unending, chaotic, and untidy, and does not have any defined start of end point. Those engaged in the process might abide by general procedures of the policy creation process that has been described below in six phases (National Collaborating Center for Healthy Public Policy., 2013).

Being a practitioner, I anticipated gaining first-hand knowledge on policy execution and the complete processes in evaluating a policy for its alteration to match the day-to-day needs of those individuals it intends to serve or protect. I anticipated understanding the specific complicated procedures involved in modification of policies and how the numerous facets in policy execution influence one another, and how the systems react to a change in any of these facets. Secondly, I anticipated that this report is going be a useful and informative addition to the Fair Housing Act via the included recommendations.

Methods

In making the decision to analyze public policy, there is an inherent ethical opinion that individuals together with their welfare are of value. We should make an effort to learn about each force that influences the welfare of an individual and the society at large. The yearning to better the present system is the foundation for public policy. In order to meet this objective, public policy students should first know how the…

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…checking on those who are suspected not to be in compliance with regulations, and regularly doing filed inspections to ensure compliance (The Opportunity Agenda, 2010; Li, Campbell & Fernandez, 2013). The above actions will ensure that there are higher levels of compliance with the regulations.

a. Ensuring Fair Housing Compliance in Individual Federally-Funded Projects

Besides reforming the AI process, there is a need to ensure that all federally funded projects comply with FHA duty and other requirements that exist to ensure equal opportunity. One of the tools I recommend for this is the use of the OIS (Opportunity Impact Statement) requirement (Kochera, 2002; Smith, 2016). I, therefore, recommend that the HUD should come up with more regulations to require the drafting and submission of OISs by potential fund recipients (Kochera, 2002). This could help ensure that those who receive funds are those who comply with the basic fair housing principles.

Improving Enforcement and Funding Decisions

Regulatory accountability is one of the key factors that will determine the likelihood of the proposed reforms succeeding. Therefore, in cases where data (including OISs) show that there is potential discrimination, funding should be denied or stopped pending further investigations. The recent stopping of funding to BART by FTA after public complaints is an important example and model that can be followed in such cases (Chan, 2016).

Moreover, all federal offices and agencies involved in housing ought to aggressively monitor how their funds are used and act whenever fair housing tenets are breached. Furthermore, in those cases where the Department is mandated with picking proposed projects for funding, it should put in place an OIS system and require OISs so that the projects that end up getting chosen are the ones that do not discriminate and have solid plans to promote fair housing.

In addition to the OIS reviews, there should be a clear statement by the department that they intend to conduct random on-site and documentary audits to ensure compliance with OIS statements. Moreover, there should be statements that clearly state that pre-approval of projects for funding does not mean that substantive compliance was determined.

In summary, it is clear from the review of programs and process that the Housing Agency has complied with the state and federal housing regulations including those contained in the Fair Housing Act. According to the Act, no one shall be excluded from housing projects on the basis of disability, familial status, ethnic origin, race, nationality, religion, sex, and color. Although the Act is well-drafted, it can be made even better by: ensuring the Department audits and monitors fair housing obligations regularly through clear metrics; ensuring clear guidelines are drafted for the collection and evaluation of data, ensuring the public participates adequately before funding is granted; and ensuring that audits are conducted before and after awards. Besides the above action, the Act can be made better by making it recommend the implementation of all the….....

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References

Dye, T. R. (2017). Understanding public policy. Boston: Pearson National Collaborating Center for Healthy Public Policy. (2013). Public Policy Models and Their Usefulness in Public Health: The Stages Model. Retrieved from https://www.ncchpp.ca/docs/ModeleEtapesPolPubliques_EN.pdf on 19 April 2019

Cochran, C. L., & Malone, E. F. (2005). Public policy: Perspectives and choices. Lynne Rienner.

Robert, C., & Zeckhauser, R. (2011). The methodology of normative policy analysis. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 30(3), 613-643.

Pearl, L. D. (2014). Community Development and Fair Housing: A work still in progress. Housing Policy Debate, 24(1), 288-296.
HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) 2017. AFFH-T User Guide: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Data and Mapping Tool v. 4.0. Washington, DC: HUD.

The Opportunity Agenda, (2010). Reforming HUD’s Regulations to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing. Retrieved from https://www.opportunityagenda.org/explore/resources-publications/reforming-huds-regulations-affirmatively-further-fair-housing on 22 April 2019

Turner, M.A. & Acevedo-Garcia, D. (2005). “The Benefits of Housing Mobility: A Review of the Research Evidence,” in Tegeler, P., Cunningham, M., & Turner, M. A. Keeping the promise: Preserving and enhancing housing mobility in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Washington, DC: Poverty and Race Research Action Council.

Kanter, A.S. (1994). A Home of One’s Own: The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and Housing Discrimination Against People with Mental Disabilities, 43 Am. U. L. Rev. 925.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Housing Planning Guide. Volume 1, 1996.

TRASVIÑA, J. (2011). Let’s Put an End to Housing Discrimination. The White House. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2011/05/12/let-s-put-end-housing-discrimination on 22 April 2019

Li, H., Campbell, H., & Fernandez, S. (2013). Residential segregation, spatial mismatch and economic growth across US metropolitan areas. Urban Studies, 50(13), 2642-2660.

Chan, C. (2016). Separate and Suffering: The Damaging Effects of Residential Segregation on Metropolitan Economies. Chicago Policy Review (Online).

Smith, R. (2016). A seat at the table: Changing the governing structure of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program administration to reflect civil rights values and fair housing. Colum. J. Race & L., 6, 193.

Kochera, A. (2002). Accessibility and visitability features in single-family homes: A review of state and local activity. Washington, DC.: Public Policy Institute, AARP.

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