The Trump administration is dismantling rules that required local governments to demonstrate progress against housing discrimination in exchange for grants.
President Donald Trump has cited the Obama-era rule by name when campaigning for reelection in an environment of heightened racial tensions.
Democrats, he said over the weekend, are “going to bring people, eliminate single-family zoning, they want to eliminate single-family zoning, bringing who knows into your suburbs, so your communities will be unsafe and your housing values will go down.”
“Suburbia will be no longer as we know it,” if presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected and re-establishes the 2015 regulation, Trump said at the White House last week.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new plan, announced Thursday, requires a HUD grant applicant to self-certify that it is doing something – rather than nothing – to promote housing fairness. The rule says applicants “generally … must take an active role rather than be passive.”
Gone is the 92-question assessment the Obama administration instituted in 2015 to determine compliance, as well as Clinton-era requirements that local authorities analyze “impediments to fair housing choice within its jurisdiction,” then do something about it and report back to HUD.
The administration had already suspended the requirements that localities use the 2015 assessment.
The new rule guts those requirements, at the President’s direction.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who criticized the Obama-era rule in his confirmation hearing, unveiled a less extensive proposal in January to water down those requirements.
“However, when the President reviewed the proposed rule, he expressed concern that the HUD approach did not go far enough,” the new rule says.
Critics said the rollback removes racial protections.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said it will “eviscerate all oversight of state and local government compliance with fair housing laws.”
The National Low Income Housing Coalition said the protections are “needed to dismantle decades of government-sponsored discrimination that led to segregation & disinvestment in health care, housing, education, and other essential services in Black communities and other communities of color.”
But HUD said its new rule “gives local communities maximum flexibility in designing and implementing sound policies responsive to unique local needs, and eliminates overly burdensome, intrusive and inconsistent reporting and monitoring requirements.”
The new rule takes effect immediately and does not require a period for public comment, HUD said.
CNN’s DJ Judd and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.