Trump administration delays Obama fair housing rule, Castro says move “guts” rule

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule delayed

Last year, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said that HUD will look to “reinterpret” a controversial fair housing rule issued by the Obama administration in 2015.

The rule in question is the “final rule” on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, which requires that cities and towns that receive federal funding to examine their local housing patterns for racial bias and to design a plan to address any measurable bias.

The rule became a target of Republicans, including Carson himself.

And now, with Republicans fully in charge of the federal government, HUD is taking action on the fair housing rule.

In a move that prominent Democrats and fair housing experts are calling disastrous for the AFFH rule, HUD plans to announce Friday that it is delaying the deadline for local governments to submit their fair housing evaluations by one year.

“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is extending the deadline for local units of government to submit an Assessment of Fair Housing,” HUD’s announcement reads. “In a public notice to its stakeholder community, HUD reaffirmed its commitment to the Fair Housing Act and the law’s requirement that recipients of HUD funding must affirmatively further fair housing.”

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who oversaw the rule’s announcement in 2015, took to Twitter to criticize the Trump administration’s move.

“In other words, they’ve gutted AFFH,” Castro tweeted, while linking to an article about the AFFH rule being delayed. “It will be up to the next Administration to get this back on track.”

Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, tweeted out a link to HUD’s notice that will be placed into the Federal Register on Friday, saying the delay “effectively (and immediately) suspends the rule.”

As for why it is delaying the rule, HUD said that the move is result of early responses to the implementation of the rule.

“Early in this administration, HUD embarked upon a top-to-bottom review of the department’s rules and regulations. As part of this regulatory review, HUD asked the public to offer comment on those rules that might be excessively burdensome or unclear,” HUD’s announcement states.

“What we heard convinced us that the Assessment of Fair Housing tool for local governments wasn’t working well,” HUD continues. “In fact, more than a third of our early submitters failed to produce an acceptable assessment—not for lack of trying but because the tool designed to help them to succeed wasn’t helpful.”

In reaction to those responses, HUD said that it is delaying the deadline for submission from 2019 to 2020, but HUD stated that it is committed to the AFFH rule.

“In response to the comments we’ve received, we are extending the deadline to submit these required assessments while HUD invests substantial human and technical resources toward improving this Assessment of Fair Housing tool,” HUD’s announcement states. “HUD stands by the Fair Housing Act’s requirement to affirmatively furthering fair housing, but we must make certain that the tools we provide to our grantees work in the real world.”

To read HUD’s full notice in the Federal Register, click here.

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