HUD Set To Reinstate Obama-Era Fair Housing Rule

US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia FudgePhoto: Getty Images

The Biden administration is reportedly replacing an Obama-era housing rule aimed at reducing racial segregation, minus one key component. According to The Washington Post, the rule that Donald Trump claimed would “abolish” suburbs, dates back to 2015 and originally included a mandate for communities to conduct analysis of local barriers that prevent housing integration and require them to submit plans to fix them.

An official with the Department of Housing and Urban Development spoke with the outlet on the condition of anonymity, confirming that Biden’s reinstatement of the rule would not include the barrier analysis. 

Current HUD officials called the mandate for the fair housing assessment “unnecessarily burdensome” for some communities and the agency itself. Former HUD Secretary Ben Carson shared some of the same views about the rule. 

Housing experts and advocates have expressed their concern that a fair housing policy without the assessment and reporting requirement will weaken HUD’s ability to enforce the rule, and contribute to ongoing racial disparities in housing, public works, and transportation. 

“This doesn’t reverse the damage of the Trump administration,” UCLA School of Law professor Jonathan Zasloff told the outlet. “The entire point of the 2015 rule was to have a standard data set. What gets measured gets dealt with,” Zasloff, who teaches housing discrimination courses, added.

On Tuesday (June 8), HUD officials said that communities will still have to keep records of the actions they take to promote fair housing practices, even if the reports aren’t required to be submitted. HUD will also retain the authority to investigate housing discrimination claims and conduct follow up compliance reviews. 

President Joe Biden announced his plans to bolster economic and housing equality for Black Americans last week during his visit to the historic Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“My administration has launched an aggressive effort to combat racial discrimination in housing. That includes everything from redlining to the cruel fact that a home owned by a Black family is too often appraised at a lower value than a similar home owned by a white family,” Biden said at the centennial commemoration ceremony in Tulsa. The plan includes support for small businesses and housing protections and supports for Black individuals and families.

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