Housing advocate sues HUD, Carson

Housing advocate sues HUD, Carson”

The claim alleges that delaying the Obama-era rule is promoting housing segregation.

Three fair housing groups filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration Tuesday, arguing it illegally suspended a program requiring state and local governments to take steps to desegregate communities or risk losing billions of dollars in federal funds.

A federal judge late past year blocked Carson from suspending another Obama-era regulation meant to more accurately estimate appropriate dollar amounts for housing vouchers by basing them on ZIP codes rather than on metropolitan areas.

As a result, no recipient of federal housing funds will have to submit an assessment until at least 2024.

"We're reverting to where we were before", said Christina Rosales, communications director for the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

In the suit, the housing advocates said HUD violated federal law on revising federal rules.

"For 30 years, NFHA has promoted the affirmatively furthering fair housing requirement of the Fair Housing Act", said NFHA President and CEO Lisa Rice. According to the lawsuit, Housing and Urban Development has for decades inadequately enforced that part of the law.

After almost 50 years of inaction, the rule was seen as a belated effort by HUD to enforce the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which compelled communities to use federal dollars to end segregation in neighborhoods.

According to the January 4 statement, the Trump administration sought public comments on potentially "burdensome or unclear" rules.

"By referring government entities to a system which it has acknowledged has failed to accomplish the goals of the Fair Housing Act, HUD has clearly signaled that it does not take the spirit of the Fair Housing Act or its own responsibilities to uphold it seriously", Jorge Andres Soto, director of public policy for the National Fair Housing Alliance, said during a press call. "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 created to help them to succeed wasn't helpful".

Tuesday's lawsuit meanwhile asserts that several jurisdictions have committed to concrete reforms after going through the AFH drafting process.

"The biggest takeaway for our city is, we had a chance to have an honest conversation about race, poverty concentration and investment, addressing the affordable housing crisis through a fair housing lens", Monterrosa said.

The obligation to "affirmatively further fair housing" lies at the heart of the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968. "Judicial intervention is necessary to vindicate the rule of law and to bring fair housing to communities that have been deprived of it for too long".

Carson slammed the AFFH Rule as "social engineering".

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