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As Trump Ditches a Fair Housing Rule, New York City Doubles Down

HUD’s reversal of an Obama-era mandate on discrimination comes as the De Blasio administration releases its own, very different fair housing blueprint.
The New York City Housing Authority's Ocean Bay Apartments Bayside complex in Queens. The city has just released a new report on addressing housing discrimination.
The New York City Housing Authority's Ocean Bay Apartments Bayside complex in Queens. The city has just released a new report on addressing housing discrimination.Bess Adler/Bloomberg

The Trump administration is walking back a rule on fair housing that requires communities to show how they’re working to undo long-established patterns of racial segregation. In its place, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing an updated rule that bears little resemblance to the standard set by the Obama administration. Advocates for housing are crying out that the White House is operating in bad faith.

Known by its mantra-like moniker, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is a mandate established by the Fair Housing Act of 1968. While this charge to desegregate is decades old, only within the last decade has the federal government sought to actively enforce the standard. In 2015, under then-Housing Secretary Julián Castro, HUD issued a “final rule” clarifying the federal government’s fair housing policies. This rule proved to be short lived: The Trump administration hit the brakes in 2018 by suspending a deadline for compliance with the rule, before anyone could fulfill its obligations. Then, on Tuesday, the department issued a new rule to replace the Obama standard altogether.