The controversy surrounding the conflict between hate crimes and the First Amendment makes the task of even defining hate crimes difficult. Actions that some find prejudicial are simply expressive to others. This diversion obstructs efforts to collect data on hate crimes and deploy a unified legal or prosecutorial response. The antidiscrimination purpose of the Fair Housing Act is known, despite questions surrounding the Act’s breadth, and the inconsistent prioritization and interpretation of the Act that comes with changing the person who holds the position of the Secretary of the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This paper sets forth a framework to support the inclusion of hate crime eradiation in HUD’s agenda. This paper illustrates protecting the rights of people to be free from discrimination while in their homes is an active and appropriate use of the Fair Housing Act. Furthermore, such a purpose is properly aligned with HUD’s traditional accomplishments in the areas of home financing, rental assistance, affordable housing, and homelessness prevention. Therefore, incorporating hate crime eradication into its agenda would allow HUD to actively address violent acts that interfere with the pro-integration mission of HUD and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Further, providing clarification regarding the tools to combat housing-related violence supports the antidiscrimination intent of the Fair Housing Act.
Currently, inconsistencies exist with respect to prosecuting hate crimes under the FHA and among states and localities with respect to collecting data on these crimes. Appointing a HUD Secretary who is willing to, at a minimum, set forth consistent reporting requirements and data collection requirements will assist with providing a unified approach to combating the growing problem of housing-related violence.
Loy. U. Chi. L. J.
Available at: https://lawecommons.luc.edu/luclj/vol52/iss1/8