Fair-housing advocates plan to file a lawsuit Tuesday against the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Secretary Ben Carson for suspending an Obama-era rule requiring communities to examine and address barriers to racial integration, The Washington Post reported.
Three fair-housing groups have signed onto the lawsuit, which claims the suspension was unlawful because it didn’t provide proper public notice or a chance for public comment, the Post reported.
The 2015 rule required more than 1,200 communities receiving billions of federal housing dollars to draft plans to desegregate their communities — or risk losing federal funds.
Carson, who described efforts to desegregate American neighborhoods as “failed socialist experiments,” suspended the rule in January, allowing local and state governments to continue receiving HUD grants without compliance with the full requirements of the Fair Housing Act, the Post reported.
HUD said it based its decision on the fact that more than a third of the 49 plans initially submitted to the agency were rejected as incomplete or inconsistent with fair-housing and civil rights requirements.
Fair-housing advocates who helped develop the rule under the Obama administration said that’s why the rule is necessary and that nearly all of the rejected plans were soon accepted after HUD officials stepped in to help, the Post reported.
“My fear is that HUD’s rescission of the rule tells communities, ‘You’re off the hook,’ ” Madison Sloan, director of Texas Appleseed’s Disaster Recovery and Fair Housing project, told the Post. “ ‘We’re going to keep giving you money even while you keep perpetuating segregation.’ ”
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