Civil Rights Groups Plan to Sue HUD Over Fair Housing Rule

Civil Rights Groups Plan to Sue HUD Over Fair Housing Rule, Glenn Thrush, New York Times, May 7, 2018, available here

On Tuesday, a coalition of national and Texas-based housing groups are expected to file suit in Federal District Court in Washington to reinstate an Obama-era rule that required localities receiving federal development funding to submit plans detailing their efforts to end segregation based on race, income, ethnicity or physical disability.

Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, suspended the rule, known as the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision, this year over concerns that it put too heavy a burden on local governments that would have to allocate resources to produce the plans.

The advocates filing the lawsuit argue that Mr. Carson’s actions violated the 1968 Housing Act, a law that was pressed by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shortly before his assassination. The suit claims that Mr. Carson is leaving HUD without a system to prevent a pattern of discrimination in the allocation of $28 billion in disaster relief funding after a succession of natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, last year.

The fight centers on an affirmative fair housing rule put in place in 2015 after two years of study and public hearings. At the time, Julian Castro, Mr. Carson’s predecessor as HUD secretary, said the regulation would “provide all Americans with access to safe, affordable housing in communities that are rich with opportunity.”

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