Dismantling segregation and housing discrimination just got easier in California

For Immediate Release

September 30, 2018


Duc Luu, Communications Manager, Public Advocates, 857-373-9118, dluu@publicadvocates.org
Michelle Pariset, Policy Advocate, Public Advocates, 916-716- 1484, mpariset@publicadvocates.org

Bold fair housing bill signed into law is a rebuke of President Trump and Secretary Carson
Governor Brown signs AB 686 making every city, county and state agency responsible for fighting discrimination in housing

SAN FRANCISCO – Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 686 (Santiago), a trailblazing state fair housing bill that reimagines how cities confront the systemic causes of housing inequality. At a time when civil rights are being dismantled at the federal level, California has seized the moment by preserving and adapting key aspects of Obama Administration fair housing regulations in a way that makes sense for our state.

Starting on January 1, 2019, hundreds of cities, counties and state agencies in California will have to take proactive measures to fix housing inequality on the basis of race, national origin, disability and other protected classes. An important consequence of the law is that all cities and counties will have to reach out and engage constituents on issues of inequity and discrimination in housing.

“HUD Secretary Ben Carson derided fair housing regulations as ‘social engineering’ so it’s no wonder that he and President Trump have moved to roll back the Obama Administration’s visionary efforts to promote equal housing opportunities for all,” said Deputy Managing Attorney Sam Tepperman-Gelfant. He added, “With the passage of AB 686, the affirmatively furthering fair housing mandate will remain alive and well in the nation’s most populous state despite Washington’s attacks on housing civil rights.”

Beginning in 2021 this new law will require each city and county to include an analysis and action plan to combat housing discrimination as part of its General Plan. The General Plan, required by the state, serves as the local government’s “blueprint” for how the local jurisdiction will grow and develop.The California Department of Housing and Community Development will be the agency providing guidance to jurisdictions on updating their General Plans and oversee that process.

The bill’s co sponsors (Public Advocates, the National Housing Law Project, the Western Center on Law and Poverty) will work together to ensure that local governments are held accountable to the law.

Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project said, “NHLP celebrates the passage of AB 686, and that Governor Brown recognizes the importance of standing up to the regressive housing policies of the current Administration. We sincerely thank Assemblymember Santiago, his staff, and our partners Public Advocates and Western Center on Law and Poverty. AB 686 will help address systemic housing discrimination in California.”

Paul Tepper, executive director of the Western Center on Law and Poverty said, “Now that Governor Brown has signed AB 686, every California community will have to look at its own policies, at its own history of discrimination, and develop real measures to tear down the barriers that have kept too many of our residents from living in neighborhoods where they can access this state’s opportunities. We hope that it is the beginning of a community-led path toward a more inclusive future for all Californians.”

“The passage of AB 686 is a fitting tribute to the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose assassination drove Congress to pass the Fair Housing Act and whose 50th anniversary we recognized this year,” said Policy Advocate Michelle Pariset. “Now comes the hard work of implementation and undoing the legacy of redlining, urban renewal, and segregation.”


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