WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is proposing new steps to scrap an Obama-era rule that aimed to combat housing segregation.
Carson said the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, enacted in 2015, "often dictated unworkable requirements" and added the policy has been "suffocating investment in some of our most distressed neighborhoods."
“We do not have to abandon communities in need. Instead we believe we can craft a new, fairer rule that creates choices for quality housing across all communities,” Carson said in a statement published Monday.
The AFFH rule was pushed forward to supplement the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act. The guideline requires local governments accepting federal government funding to provide fair housing assessments, a way to ensure discrimination practices were eliminated in housing.
Housing advocates warn that Carson's plan to reverse the Obama administration’s rule, which wouldn’t take effect for at least 60 days during a comment period, would result in communities failing to comply with a federal law aimed at fighting discrimination.
In May, a coalition of fair housing advocates filed a suit to push HUD and Carson to fix residential segregation and claimed the agency had wrongfully suspended requirements to address problems with racial integration. The complaint alleges that HUD unlawfully suspended policies this year that provide civil rights oversight, according to the suit.
Under HUD’s pre-2015 process of providing federal funds, communities throughout the country routinely ignored problems of segregation and discrimination while continuing to collect federal dollars, they claim.
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Texas Appleseed, and Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (Texas Housers) are part of the suit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.