April is National Fair Housing Month, and this year it marks 54 years since the signing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968. Throughout the month we commemorate the Act’s expanded protections against discrimination in the sale, rent, and financing of housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status (History of Fair Housing, HUD). The Fair Housing Act also created an obligation for HUD and recipients of federal funds to “affirmatively further fair housing” (AFFH). This means doing more than just combating discrimination but also taking meaningful actions to overcome disparites to create equity, opportunity, and inclusive communities — changing both the everyday experiences of people but also the systems and policies that have created these disparities.
While the core goals of the Fair Housing Act have remained the same, HUD is advancing new strategies to realize these goals. HUD’s FY 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, “One HUD, For All,” outlines the agency’s framework to create thriving, inclusive communities across the country. Over the next four years, HUD’s strategic goals include supporting underserved communities, increasing access to and availability of affordable housing, promoting homeownership, advancing sustainable communities, and strengthening the agency’s internal capacity. Across each of these goals, HUD has underscored the need to enhance equity and inclusion in all its programs in order to affirmatively further fair housing.
As a company focused on improving social, economic, and environmental resilience for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities, Cloudburst looks to align our initiatives with HUD’s goals by aiming an equity lens at all our work. Every plan, project, and training offers an opportunity to incorporate an equity lens. For Cloudburst, this includes creating ways for people with lived experiences to help communities identify and change the systems and policies that create and maintain disparities.
Cloudburst also works directly with states and local communities to combat discrimination and affirmatively further fair housing. Since 2015, Cloudburst has worked with more than 15 communities to develop meaningful, action-oriented Analyses of Impediments (AIs) and Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs) to identify, analyze, and address factors that prevent individuals and families from accessing housing and other opportunities. In communities such as Richland, WA, Stanislaus County, CA, and Ventura County, CA, Cloudburst has utilized data analysis, policy analysis, and community engagement to identify the barriers to equity and opportunity. Cloudburst also works with communities to identify goals and actions to remove barriers to equity and opportunity.
At the federal level, Cloudburst helps affirmatively further fair housing by developing and implementing the National Fair Housing Training Academy (NFHTA), a curriculum designed to train and support the next generation of fair housing professionals. The curriculum connects fair housing investigators and advocates from across the country with nationally recognized fair housing experts to share practical tools and resources, strengthen professional connections and networks, and build fair housing skills and knowledge in the field.
Cloudburst is committed to continuing our work with HUD and our state and local partners to uphold equity and build more inclusive, sustainable communities. We invite our staff, past and current clients, and partners to join us in celebrating Fair Housing Month by working together to take meaningful actions to expand equity and opportunity.