The claim alleges that delaying the Obama-era rule is promoting housing segregation.

Earlier this year, the courts ordered U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and HUD Secretary Ben Carson to follow-through on the Obama-era rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (known as AFFH).

The rule was meant to ensure low-income families have better access to quality housing. It also required communities to draft desegregation plans or risk federal funds.

Carson suspended AFFH, and now housing advocates have filed a legal complaint against Carson and HUD for that suspension, the Washington Post reports. The complaint was filed on behalf of National Fair Housing Alliance, the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and Texas Appleseed, according to City Lab.

In a lawsuit draft obtained by the Post, the suit claims Carson unlawfully suspended the rule by not providing advanced public notice.

“HUD required jurisdictions only to certify that, every few years, they analyzed barriers to fair housing in their communities, made gestures in the direction of solving them, and memorialized this analysis in their own files (never reviewed by HUD),” the lawsuit draft states. “As both HUD and the Government Accountability Office found, putting local jurisdictions on the honor system was ineffective.”

The lawsuit also claims the delay illegally promotes housing segregation; its backers hope to force the courts into immediately reinstating AFFH.

“Decades of experience have shown that, left to their own devices, local jurisdictions will simply pocket federal funds and do little to further fair housing objectives,” the lawsuit read. “Judicial intervention is necessary to vindicate the rule of law and to bring fair housing to communities that have been deprived of it for too long.”

Lisa Rice, president and chief executive of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said, “HUD has continued to grant federal dollars to municipalities even when they know the municipalities are engaging in discrimination. They are rewarding cities for bad behavior.”

Madison Sloan, director of Texas Appleseed’s Disaster Recovery and Fair Housing project added that the suit was sorely needed because, “My fear is that HUD’s rescission of the rule tells communities, ‘You’re off the hook, we’re going to keep giving you money even while you keep perpetuating segregation.’”

 

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is acknowledging the challenges of his role in the Trump administration. The acclaimed surgeon has faced scrutiny in recent months for his leadership over HUD. (File Photo)

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