Equitable Housing Being Preempted by Legislatures Throughout the Country
Searchable Map Highlights Prominent Examples of Local Affordable Housing Efforts Blunted by Preemption #EqualHousing
For Immediate Release: January 30, 2019
Contact: Stephanie Shumate, 352-318-1924, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 Families, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, National 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:
Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are all facing three out of the four preemptive tactics researched in this map from their state legislatures. The more restrictions that are overlaid in a state, the harder it becomes for cities to respond to housing challenges.
Right now, Indiana is the only state battling all four forms of state bans on local housing policies that are tracked on the map – Source-of-Income (SOI) Discrimination, Inclusionary Zoning Preemption, Regulation of Short-Term Rentals, and Rent Control. (IC 36-1-3-8.5, Ordinance requiring housing program participation prohibited)
But states are beginning to fight back. In Colorado there is currently movement to repeal the ban on rental inclusionary zoning, which comes from the state’s limit on rent control.
“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,” said Nestor Davidson, Faculty 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 Kye, Law & 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.”