Court Forces Ben Carson to be a Civil Rights Champion for a Day, Rachel M. Cohen, The Intercept, Jan. 2, 2018, available here
Ben Carson will soon deliver a major victory for civil rights activists on behalf of the Trump administration, implementing a new rule that will give more than 200,000 low-income families in 24 cities significantly improved access to housing in high-income neighborhoods.
Carson, however, has not suddenly become a champion of civil rights now that he is secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The rule was crafted by the Obama administration and a court ordered the Trump administration to enforce it.
The policy attempts to resolve a seeming defect in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s housing voucher program: that vouchers are worth the same amount across an entire region. That means most voucher holders can’t afford to move into wealthier neighborhoods because their subsidy isn’t large enough to cover rent. Landlords in poor neighborhoods can, in turn, price gouge voucher holders, who have nowhere else to go. The new rule requires public housing authorities to alter the way they calculate rent subsidies, effectively making vouchers worth more in affluent areas and worth less in poorer communities.