January 08, 2020

Brown to Sec. Carson: Stop Pretending Housing Segregation and Discrimination Don't Exist

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee blasted the Trump administration’s proposal dismantling the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. The Trump Administration’s proposal significantly weakens the existing rule and HUD’s oversight of communities’ efforts to affirmatively further fair housing as required under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The proposal also attempts to redefine the scope of HUD’s fair housing role away from addressing segregation and inequality and removes tools put in place to respond to a 2010 Government Accountability Office assessment that found HUD’s implementation to be ineffective.
“Instead of working to identify and overcome patterns of housing segregation and inequality, the Trump Administration pretends they don’t exist,” said Brown.  “Secretary Carson must stop undermining HUD’s oversight of communities’ fair housing efforts and should not move forward with this rule.”
Senator Brown strongly supports the 2015 rule, which provided communities and states administering HUD grants like Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) with the tools, data, and oversight necessary to affirmatively further fair housing and address historic patterns of segregation and inequality.  
HUD’s AFFH proposal is the latest in a series of Trump Administration efforts to weaken HUD’s enforcement of fair housing.  In November, Brown led 45 Senate Democrats in a letter calling on HUD Secretary Carson urging him to reject changes proposed in the HUD’s August 2019 Proposed Rulemaking: HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard. The Disparate Impact Proposed Rule would effectively eliminate use of the disparate impact standard for fair housing enforcement, a key tool for rooting out and eliminating hidden discrimination.  The Proposed Rule simultaneously raises the bar for victims of discrimination to bring complaints under the Fair Housing Act, while carving out new avenues for financial institutions, governments, and other housing market participants to continue discriminatory practices.