HUD Sec. Carson to Reinterpret Rule that Promotes Fair Housing

Dr. Ben Carson said he believes in fair housing but expressed an intent to reinterpret a rule that promotes fair housing and equal opportunity, in his recent interview with the Washington Examiner. Fairly recently, a group of Republican legislators also urged the HUD Secretary to rescind the rule, known as the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.

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In Furtherance of the Fair Housing Act

The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) was implemented by the HUD in furtherance of the Fair Housing Act which is traced back to the Civil Rights Act of 1986.

The 2015 rule essentially prohibits racial segregation and puts in place processes including an assessment tool that will help grantees and participants of HUD programs meet their fair housing obligations using federal funds.

A portion of the Washington Examiner report on its interview with Dr. Carson:

“Do I believe in fair housing? Of course, I believe in fair housing,” Carson told the Washington Examiner. But he said he doesn’t believe in “extra manipulation and cost.”

“So we just have to reinterpret it, that’s all,” he said.

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Anti-Discriminatory or Not

Senator Mike Lee led the group of Republican legislators who think that the rule is not working. A separate Washington Examiner report quoted them as saying, “We stand with you in opposing and any all instances of discrimination, but this rule does not actually help in that effort.”

In their letter to the HUD which Dr. Carson has acknowledged to having received, the lawmakers asserted that the rule will only increase the federal government’s involvement in local zoning decisions per the Washington Examiner.

Early this year, Senator Lee co-sponsored a bill, Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017 that essentially nullifies AFFH.

Dr. Carson also had his share of criticism about AFFH which he thought back in 2015 will “legislate racial inequality” according to the Washington Examiner.

He did not say in the report on how he will reinterpret the rule. He did indicate that he will not totally reverse the rule and will not mess with something that the Supreme Court has touched on.

The Supreme Court decision centered on a non-profit’s claim that the Department of Housing and Community Affairs in Texas and its officers have caused segregated housing to continue by giving too many housing tax credits to inner-city areas with a predominantly Black population compared with suburban neighborhoods with a predominantly White population.

In its ruling shortly before the implementation of AFFH, the Supreme Court held that “Recognition of disparate-impact claims is consistent with the central purpose of the FHA, which…..was enacted to eradicate discriminatory practices within a sector of the Nation’s economy.”

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Justin McHood is a managing partner at Suited Connector and has been recognized by national media outlets as a financial expert for more than a decade.

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