The good people at the National Housing Law Project issued a sobering statement this afternoon about yet another effort by the Trump administration to weaken the nation’s civil rights laws.
Trump Administration Promotes Housing Discrimination with New HUD Rule
In yet another attack on the nation’s civil rights laws, the Trump administration has announced that it will publish a weakened fair housing rule tomorrow. The new disparate impact rule dismantles decades of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policy embodied in the 2013 rule and undermines the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Inclusive Communities, which affirmed the disparate impact doctrine under the Fair Housing Act.
“It is difficult to believe that our nation’s federal housing agency is promoting housing discrimination in the middle of a pandemic and related housing crisis,” said Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project. “While the rest of the country is demanding racial justice, the Administration attempts to eliminate one of the nation’s most important civil rights tools and writes the playbook on how to discriminate without getting caught.”
Practically speaking, the new HUD rule would sideline disparate impact as a usable legal tool to tackle systemic housing discrimination. This means that landlords, lenders, and other housing providers would be free to engage in activities that deprive people of color, domestic violence survivors, families with children, people with disabilities, and others of housing opportunities – so long as a discriminatory intent could not be shown.
“The core of the National Housing Law Project’s mission is to promote access to safe, decent, and affordable housing for those who are all too often denied such opportunities. HUD’s attack on disparate impact may make our mission harder, but we resolve to continue this fight,” continued Roller.
Civil rights and housing groups uniformly oppose the rule, which received more than 45,000 comments. The new regulation dismisses the majority of comments opposed, as it did with the new HUD rule that replaced the affirmatively furthering fair housing rule. NHLP and partnering organizations worked to oppose both rules through the #FightforHousingJustice campaign.
The publication of this rule continues the Trump Administration’s abysmal record on fair housing and civil rights. HUD just concluded public comment on the agency’s proposed anti-trans rule that would allow shelters funded with taxpayer dollars to turn away transgender and gender non-conforming people simply because of who they are. The proposed rule would eliminate the Equal Access Rule that ensures transgender people can access HUD-funded shelters that align with their gender iden