Report: Ben Carson Implements New Rule Meant To Weaken Fair Housing Laws
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is set to propose a new rule that would reduce the burden on local governments to meet their fair housing obligations, according to The Washington Post.
The Trump administration’s proposal would redefine what it means to promote fair housing, eliminate the assessment used to examine and address barriers to racial integration, and encourage cities to remove regulations that stand in the way of affordable housing.
Obama-era regulations meant to enforce the 1968 Fair Housing Act aimed to overcome long-standing segregation by analyzing housing patterns, concentrated poverty, and disparities in access to transportation, jobs, and good schools.
Yet, HUD Secretary Ben Carson claims those steps are “overly burdensome” and “too prescriptive.” Instead, he believes that through greater housing supply along with safe and sanitary housing conditions, the HUD will better allow families to live where they want rather than racially integrating communities.
Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said, “The proposed rule entirely ignores the essential racial desegregation obligations of fair housing law.”
Housing advocates argue that the new rule represents a dangerous misunderstanding of fair housing issues. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing was a provision put in place five decades ago that was meant to prompt communities and public housing authorities that receive federal funds to address the lingering effects of their historical actions.
“Those lingering effects are still with us today,” said Lisa Rice, president and chief executive of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “There is an inextricable link between race, place, and opportunity. The fact is that communities of color disproportionately do not have banks, do not have grocery stores, do not have basic infrastructure or equal access to municipal services and amenities like sewer lines and paved roads.”
“Secretary Carson is scrapping years of extensive input and intensive work that went into the fair housing rule and essentially reverting the the agency’s previous flawed and failed system,” Yentel said. “In doing so, Secretary Carson continues his pattern of attempts to weaken and disrupt the agency’s responsibility to uphold its fair housing duties.”