HUD agrees to implement rule to help low-income residents

HUD agrees to implement rule to help low-income residents
© Camille Fine

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has agreed to allow a rule that helps low-income families find housing go into effect after initially attempting to delay the new regulation.

HUD officials had tried to delay the rule for two years, but agreed to implement it after a judge ruled in favor of civil rights groups challenging the delay, according to a press release.

The Small Area Fair Market Rent rule will require public housing officials to determine subsidies for rent based on formulas for zip codes, instead of ones for entire metropolitan areas.

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Previously, rents for entire metropolitan areas were used to calculate the subsidies, which the groups argued meant that the low-income people receiving the funds are forced to live in areas with few opportunities.

Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, an Obama appointee, ruled in December that HUD officials must implement the rule. Department officials agreed to not challenge the ruling as part of a settlement with the civil rights groups that was reached on Friday, according to the release.

Bowell found in December that HUD official did not provide fair reasoning to delay the rule and that the move was made arbitrarily.

"We are moving full steam ahead with implementing the court’s direction, and thus, our Small Area Fair Market Rent rule in those 23 Metro Areas," a HUD spokesman told The Hill.

The civil rights groups celebrated the agreement as a victory for low-income Americans.

“This is a win for low-income American families who deserve equal access to safe and affordable housing,” Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. said in a release.

“HUD must not delay restoring the Housing Choice Voucher program and we will continue to hold the Administration accountable. Blacks, Latinos and low-income Americans have an equal right to economic prosperity including the ability to choose where to live,” Ifill continued.

This story was updated at 9:51 a.m.