HUD to roll back Obama-era housing desegregation rule

HUD to roll back Obama-era housing desegregation rule
© Greg Nash

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a proposed rule Tuesday that would loosen fair-housing regulations for local governments.

The proposal would affect a 2015 rule implemented by the Obama administration as part of an effort to end racial segregation in government housing. The Obama-era rule was designed to hold local municipalities accountable by requiring them to gather data on poverty and segregation in order to obtain federal funding. 

The new rule would do away with both the regulations and the assessment tool that maps racial segregation in government housing. HUD argued Tuesday that the regulations are “overly burdensome to both HUD and grantees and are ineffective in helping program participants meet their reporting obligations for multiple reasons.”

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"Mayors know their communities best, so we are empowering them to make housing decisions that meet their unique needs, not a mandate from the federal government," HUD Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTrump administration ending delay on over B in Puerto Rico disaster aid HUD to roll back Obama-era housing desegregation rule Trump tells California, New York to 'politely' ask him for help with homeless population MORE said in a statement. "Having said that, if a community fails to improve housing choice, HUD stands ready to enforce the Fair Housing Act and pursue action against any party that violates the law."

Opponents said the new rule would mark a setback.

Peggy Bailey, vice president of housing policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said in a statement that the rule “would seriously weaken community efforts to enable all households to secure housing without facing discrimination.”

She added that it used “deeply flawed measures of a jurisdiction’s success in meeting its duty to affirmatively further fair housing.”

The Washington Post first reported on the rule proposal. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRep. Bobby Rush endorses Bloomberg's White House bid Actor Michael Douglas endorses Bloomberg for president Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover-up,' 'national disgrace' MORE (D-Calif.) later tweeted the story, saying, “It's clear that Secretary Carson remains committed to changing HUD's mission so that it no longer fights housing discrimination. It's outrageous. We must do more to ensure equal access to housing for all.”

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The move by the Trump administration comes after officials proposed a different rule in August that would make it significantly harder for families or the federal government to file complaints against local housing policies.