Civil rights advocates have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, accusing the agency of not following a rule intended to prevent segregation. The federal lawsuit names HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
In January, HUD postponed an Obama administration rule—the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule—that required communities that receive funding from the agency to submit fair housing assessments. Those assessments evaluate how inclusive communities are and how they plan to overcome any segregation that they find. Fair housing advocates say that without the rule, billions of dollars in federal funds will be dispensed without civil rights oversight. They also claim that HUD made the change without prior notice or an opportunity for public comment.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the National Fair Housing Alliance, Texas Appleseed, and the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service. “Basically, this action, I would say, is best described as lawless,” says Sasha Samberg-Champion, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit is the second time that Carson and HUD have been sued for delaying an Obama administration rule. In October, fair housing advocates sued Carson after he tried to delay the Small Area Fair Market Rent rule. That regulation gives recipients of Section 8 housing vouchers more choices over where to live. In that lawsuit, the court ruled against HUD and in advocates’ favor in December.
Source: “Carson and HUD Are Sued Over Delaying Anti-Segregation Rule,” National Public Radio (May 8, 2018) and “Ben Carson Sued for Delaying Anti-Segregation Rule—Again,” Curbed.com (May 8, 2018)