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Amid Racist Comments, Trump Rolls Back Key Fair Housing Rule Before MLK Weekend

January 12, 2018

It has been widely reported that yesterday Trump made racist and disparaging comments about Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries. ANHD condemns this thinking vehemently and would like to again say to our ANHD community and allies

It has been widely reported that yesterday Trump made racist and disparaging comments about Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries. ANHD condemns this thinking vehemently and would like to again say to our ANHD community and allies:

  • We believe that racist and oppressive power structures must be fought and dismantled.
  • We want to express our solidarity with the many people, organizations, and movements that are a part of the larger fight for justice and equity.
  • We support the work that you do every day in your communities to uplift and empower those who are marginalized.

It is important we recognize that these appalling comments are accompanied by destructive policy changes that are devastating our communities. On January 5th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced that HUD will suspend the requirement that communities comply with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule until well after 2020. The Obama-era rule was put in place two years ago to ensure the effective enforcement of the federal Fair Housing Act won under the Civil Rights Movement, designed to undo racial segregation. As we head into the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, this delay marks the Trump Administration’s alarming step back from that effort. This move is not surprising given that in 1973, the Justice Department sued Trump Management for violating the Fair Housing Act here in New York City and named Donald Trump as a defendant. ANHD will continue to fight against the deeply-entrenched structural segregation and economic inequality in our communities and discrimination in housing. We will continue to actively promote fair housing in all New York City neighborhoods. HUD’s notice does not repeal the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, but it does cut off and delay federal enforcement, which could effectively kill AFFH. Secretary Carson’s announcement last week includes the following:

  • Extends more than 1,000 jurisdictions deadlines for submitting an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) until after October 31, 2020.
  • Discontinues HUD’s review of any Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH)s currently under review, AND will not render an accept, deemed accepted, or non-accept determination for submitted AFHs.
  • Allows program participants that previously received a non-accept decision from HUD on their AFH submission to not submit revised AFHs until after October 2020.
  • Notifies program participants preparing to submit their first AFH that they should not submit an AFH to HUD.

Prior to this announcement, the de Blasio Administration was preparing to begin the community engagement process for the assessment in early 2018. It is not clear yet whether the de Blasio Administration will change the timeline for its Assessment of Fair Housing given this new federal directive. Irrespective of any timeline adjustments, ANHD will continue to work with the de Blasio Administration and other New York City partner organizations to advance local fair housing efforts. On this MLK weekend, we encourage all New York City organizations and individuals to speak up against the Trump Administration’s abrupt and unwelcome step back from Fair Housing during the 60-day public comment period on the extension here. ANHD has signed on to a joint statement with other housing, community development, and civil rights organizations nationwide and stands firmly behind the following collective statement. “We call on HUD to reverse its decision, withdraw this notice, and move ahead with implementation and enforcement of this important fair housing rule. And we call on Congress to provide policy and budgetary oversight of HUD to ensure it is delivering on the promise of fair and equitable housing.”    

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