Fair Housing for All

Fair Housing for All is a project that seeks to facilitate communication between and among non-governmental attorneys who litigate fair housing cases for plaintiffs and plaintiff organizations. If you are interested in participating in the listserv we operate, please fill out the webform available to the right.

Here is the statement of mission and principles that Fair Housing for All began with in 2008:

40 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the promise of that Act (and of subsequent amendments) remains unfulfilled. For all the work that has been done – and there have been decades of important and praiseworthy efforts – we have to acknowledge that we remain in substantial part a residentially segregated society, that persons with disabilities too frequently remain excluded from the mainstream, and that acts of discrimination continue to be perpetrated against members of each and all of the groups protected pursuant either to the Fair Housing Act or pursuant to its state and local counterparts.

This project is designed to provide an organized voice to fair housing attorneys on legal and public policy issues; to open better lines of communication between and among ourselves, our clients, and our allies; to expand the number of attorneys prepared to work in a serious and ongoing fashion on fair housing matters; and to develop new strategies for effecting structural change.

We proceed with the following principles in mind:

  1. Unlawful discrimination is not simply illegal, it is unfair and immoral.
  2. Discrimination is wrongful in all its forms – regardless of protected class, and regardless of who is the perpetrator and who is the victim.
  3. There is no more important factor underlying the disparities in education, employment, services, and other areas of public life than the existence of residential segregation.
  4. “Essentialism” – the idea that somehow one can divine the behavior or viewpoint of a person based on his or her protected class status – is inimical to a civil rights perspective.
  5. The need for the building of “one community, no exclusion.” Over the years the term community has too often been wielded as a term of exclusion (in essence, “it’s my community and not your community”) rather than as a term of inclusion that recognizes our commonality and signals the goal of crossing artificial boundaries.
  6. Regardless of whether our own work is based in private practice or in not‐for‐profit organizations, we recognize that a sustained governmental commitment to fair housing enforcement is the cornerstone of any effective effort to counter housing discrimination.
  7. It is not enough to fight discrimination – “affirmatively furthering fair housing” must become something more than a regulation that recipients of federal funding ignore.
  8. The fight for fair housing is inseparable from the broader struggle for housing justice and social justice, and is one that is intensely political.
  9. We must try to act to make legislative change not only on the federal level, but also on the state and local level as well.
  10. This project should be a venue within which there can be open and frank discussions of differences in philosophy, strategy, and tactics, and one within which we insist on challenging ourselves to be self‐reflective as to what we are and are not achieving.
  11. We look to complement the work of others working in the field either individually or organizationally, offer ourselves as resource, and remember that we have at least as much to learn as we may have to teach.
  12. In order to facilitate the foregoing in an environment of openness and ease, participation in the project is limited to those who do not engage in the defense of fair housing matters.