HUD’s recent efforts to gut fair housing protections is facing pushback from civil rights and fair housing advocates.
Civil rights groups and advocates that specialize in cooperative housing law have sued the Trump Administration to ensure the protections remain in place. Plaintiffs include the NFHA, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California, and BLDS.
The focus of the lawsuit is the Administration’s rewriting of HUD’s disparate impact rule, which is meant to protect minorities from discrimination in the housing market.
New rule, weaker protections
According to the plaintiffs, the new rule would offer weaker protection for groups that already face barriers to entry when it comes to housing and lending.
“We will not let the Trump administration get away with its disastrous decision to strip civil rights protections from people who need it most,” Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), told Forbes Magazine. “The disparate impact tool is critical for challenging systemic barriers that block too many people from the housing and lending opportunities they deserve.”
The plaintiffs argue that the new rule is arbitrary and capricious, and thus in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. The complaint also claims that the rule is in violation of the Fair Housing Act and that HUD failed to adequately respond to public comments on the proposed rule.
Ensuring access to affordable housing and mortgage loans has been an area of concern amongst civil rights groups for decades. For some, the measures already in place don’t go far enough with homeownership rates among minority groups still beneath pre-recession levels.
Housing Policy, and fair housing policy in particular, is a topic of import in cities like Detroit which has a minority majority population and rates of homeownership far below the national average.