March 17, 2021

Cortez Masto Introduces Bills to Combat Housing Discrimination

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) re-introduced comprehensive legislation to address housing discrimination. With the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the affordable housing crises facing the United States and specifically Nevada, Cortez Masto is introducing the Housing Fairness Act to fully fund nationwide fair housing efforts and the Home Loan Quality Transparency Act to reinstate federal housing protections to ensure lenders are held accountable for discriminatory lending practices.                   

“As I work to help Nevada make a robust recovery from the pandemic, I’m doubling down on legislation to make sure everyone has a fair shot at getting a safe and stable place to call home. There should be no tolerance for housing discrimination or shady lending practices that leave Nevadans without a roof over their head, especially during COVID-19. Addressing the housing crisis facing our state remains a top priority for me, and I’ll continue working to make progress on the housing challenges facing Nevada.”

Since its passage in 1968, the Fair Housing Act has given government the power to fight housing discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and familial status. However, housing discrimination remains a widespread problem in the United States, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has had an outsized impact on communities of color. When people are laid off or furloughed because of an economic downturn, they may be forced to find new housing and in turn encounter discrimination. 

The Housing Fairness Act would reaffirm HUD’s commitment to fair housing by increasing funding for fair housing programs, making improvements to the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, reinstating the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, and providing additional funds for research into housing discrimination.

In 2018, Congress voted to limit reform measures passed under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, despite research showing that racial minorities, women, and some rural residents still face loan discrimination. The Home Loan Quality Transparency Act would restore the requirement that detailed loan characteristics are made publicly available by any bank or credit union issuing more than 25 mortgages or 100 home equity lines of credit each year. It gives government and advocates the information they need to hold lenders accountable for discriminatory or unfair lending practices.