Ben Carson and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have decided to try a new method after “reinterpreting” an Obama era housing discrimination rule has, apparently, not worked. Their new solution? Postponement.
In a notice to be published Friday, HUD says it will suspend until 2020 a requirement making cities submit plans to counter housing segregation in order to receive federal grants and housing aid, according to the New York Times. The notice also states that cities that are currently working on plans no longer need to continue and the already submitted plans will not be reviewed by the department.
Carson, and many other Republicans, have criticized the rule since its establishment in 2015, saying that it’s an example of government overreach into private lives of citizens. HUD states their reasoning for the postponement as noting that many cities have struggled submitting a plan the department finds adequate; around a third of the first 49 reports submitted were returned by HUD. However, officials say the system was designed for this kind of back and forth.
Sara Pratt, a former deputy assistant secretary for fair housing at the agency, told the New York Times many cities whose reports failed to be accepted simply didn’t follow the instructions supplied by HUD. “It’s like having a teacher in a classroom saying, ‘Too many people aren’t passing the test, so I’m just going to change the test,’” Pratt told the New York Times.
Despite it being written in the 1968 Fair Housing Act that communities must “affirmatively further” fair housing, in the 50 years since this law went into action many communities have struggled with desegregation. The 2015 law was created so communities would have to analyze what was causing segregation in housing and create more concrete solutions. Legally, cities will still have an obligation to further fair housing but without the specificity provided by the Obama era process. With the postponement of this resolution, many worry that the Trump administration will find a way to reverse the 2015 rule.