Trump moves to undo Obama-era housing rules

The way local jurisdictions are required to promote fair housing would be redefined under the proposal

The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era housing regulations that encourage local governments to build more low-income housing in affluent areas, a policy intended to crack down on segregation.

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Under a new rule the Department of Housing and Urban Development intends to propose this week, the way jurisdictions are required to promote fair housing would be redefined, according to Politico, which viewed a copy of the proposal.

It would scale back sweeping changes made in the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Act, which was put in place in 2015 to expand the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The Obama administration’s measure required local governments that received federal grant funding to create their own fair housing goals and to ensure any new developments weren’t contributing to segregation, in part by collecting local and regional data on patterns of integration and segregation.

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The Obama administration estimated the rule would cost local entities about $25 million a year and HUD $9 million annually.

“Since the issuance of the 2015 final rule, HUD has determined that the current regulations are overly burdensome to both HUD and grantees and are ineffective in helping program participants meet their reporting obligations,” the proposal states, according to Politico.

According to The Wall Street Journal, HUD officials said that municipalities will still be required to complete the evaluations. The federal government will prioritize municipalities deemed high performers for certain types of federal funding.

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Critics, however, argue the proposed change essentially renders the law toothless.

“The rule ignores essential racial desegregation obligations of fair housing law,” Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, wrote on Twitter. “HUD says it will emphasize increasing housing supply - a misplaced but important goal. But even there, @SecretaryCarson fails.”

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, also criticized the proposal.

"Instead of working to identify and overcome patterns of housing segregation and inequality, the Trump Administration pretends they don’t exist," Brown wrote in a tweet. "HUD needs to reconsider this rule."

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