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HUD Scales Back Fair Housing Efforts

by Countable | Updated on 3.29.18

What’s the story?

In a detailed report the New York Times documents the many ways in which fair housing enforcement has been curtailed at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Secretary Ben Carson. The department, and Carson himself, dispute the claim, but offer no details of their efforts that would contradict the assertion.

Here’s a list of changes detailed by the Times:

  • Carson order the words "inclusive" and “free from discrimination” from the agency’s mission statement.

  • The department has put an indefinite hold on investigations into at least a half a dozen violations of fair housing laws across the country. Issues raised by the investigations include racial segregation, disability access, the reintegration of low-level former prisoners into communities, and the targeting of minorities by Facebook in housing advertising.

  • No new "secretary-initiated", or high priority, investigations have been launched since the beginning of Carson’s tenure.

  • Carson plans to delay an Obama-era rule requiring local government to develop detailed plans to combat racial segregation in housing. A measure preventing local governments from using federal funds to develop such plans was inserted into the recent $1.6 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law.

  • Department officials downgraded a proposed agreement between HUD and the City of Houston, which ordered the city to approve a housing project aimed at integrating a rich, white neighborhood or pay penalties, to one less stringent.

  • Officials instrumental in these prior investigations are reported to be on the way out, to be replaced by new staff supportive of the new mission.

HUD representatives argue that these adjustments are just the inevitable shifting of priorities that come with administration transitions, and not a wholesale philosophical shift. Jereon Brown, a HUD spokesman told the Times, "There is no mission shift. We are, in fact, putting more emphasis in sexual harassment [complaints]. In addition, 60 percent of the fair housing complaints we receive are disability related, and the majority of those have to do with service animals."

What do you think?

Do you think HUD is curtailing their fair housing enforcement efforts, or not? Should fair housing enforcement continue to be at the center of focus for the department? Should Congress hold hearings about changes at the department to make sure civil rights laws are being upheld, or is this, as department officials maintain, just a normal shift of priorities due to administration transition?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(91)
  • NoHedges
    03/29/2018
    ···

    But every thing was supposed to get sooooo much better once the big corporations got their tax break. The money was supposed to trickle down and fuel the entire economy. 👺 So then, why are mortgage rates, gas prices, and predatory loan practices at an all time high. 👹 Oh, I remember the republicans are in charge, and they can't seem to tell the difference between a corporation and a human being.

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  • Hiro9
    03/29/2018
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    I guess when you spend $31K on office furniture you have to make it up by taking away services and paths to justice for the poor and marginalized.

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  • J. michael
    03/29/2018
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    I work at a HUD Approved Housing Counseling agency and I am not surprised by this AT ALL. Banks continue to red line, pay fines, red line, pay fines, etc. It’s all cyclical. The economy is doing better and memory fade as families recover from economic downturns. Regulation is always followed by Deregulation later. Deregulation leads to ill behavior followed by regulation later. WF is currently giving families $15,000 for down payment assistance to purchase homes. This is a program funded with their AG settlement funds. Emphasis on SETTLEMENT so WE the public don’t get to read all of the findings. How about we all stop allowing people be greedy and siphon money to the top? How about we stop allowing banks to toss a pittance of their earnings back down the “trickle down” rabbit hole? We’ll be back to 2008 days one day...because everything that did change will slowly be unraveled.

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  • Loretta
    03/29/2018
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    This man cannot do the job. Just like every other appointee of 45! Again please relieve this man of his duties..he is so totally unqualified as is the man who appointed him! Impeach 45

    Like (41)
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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    03/29/2018
    ···

    Under Republicans, all liberties and citizen protections and support have been decreased. Oppression has increased. Citizens are less free and Corporations and politicians are generally the only ones living the American Dream.

    Like (33)
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  • John
    03/29/2018
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    Ben Carson is a disaster! He has declared war on the poor and forgotten about the concepts of fairness and equality. Get rid of him. Restore adequate funding to housing.

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  • Denise
    03/29/2018
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    Ben Carson is an idiot and unqualified for this job. He's decimating the department he's been told to lead, just like all the other department heads in this Illegal Republican Mobster Trump Reality Show Administration. We need to take our government back!

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  • Chriss
    03/29/2018
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    The irony......disgraceful

    Like (19)
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  • Andrew
    03/29/2018
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    REQUIRE HUD TO RESTORE THE PREVIOUS WORDING AND PRIORITIES OF HUD'S MISSION STATEMENT AND ACTIVITIES !!!!

    Like (17)
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  • Phil
    03/29/2018
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    Carson’s action are immoral, at best. No concern whatsoever for the people he is supposed to serve.

    Like (14)
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  • KansasTamale
    03/29/2018
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    Knew this was going to happen. Carson is an idiot and does what Trump says which is put down the poor & struggling people as shown in this decrease in housing. What a bunch of 💩 HUD IS SUPPOSED TO HELP UNDERPAID PEOPLE GET AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

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  • J
    03/29/2018
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    Not surprising. Fairness and money for me but not for thee. Me being the wealthy and powerful and thee being the rest of us.

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  • OlderNWiser
    03/30/2018
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    Another deeply flawed profoundly impaired appointee of #45 shows his true colors. He seems quite ill and needs to be removed from office.

    Like (11)
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  • John
    03/29/2018
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    Fire him now!

    Like (11)
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  • Jill
    03/29/2018
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    I implore my reps to do something about this systematic degradation of our government by Trump and his cabinet. Most are not qualified and I fear have instructions to cause as much damage to their departments as possible. We have someone in the EPA that has rolled back nearly every environmental protection that had been hard won over the years. He’s trying to replace Tillerson with someone that wants to bomb Iran and North Korea. HHS is deleting anything on line that pertains to the LGBTQ health issues. Science is now all fake or a hoax. Are you such sheep to just follow along blindly while all this happens? You need to stand up and fight for Mother Earth, equal rights for all citizens, accessible and affordable health care, a path to citizenship for our Dreamers and on and on. Can you not see what is happening? I saw a T-shirt last weekend at the March for Our Lives rally that said ”Elect a clown, expect a circus”. We need this circus to pack up their tents and get the hell out of town. Protect our democracy not the clown and his circus. NOW please!

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  • Dave
    03/29/2018
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    I have come to the conclusion, that DR Ben Carson must have worked on himself and it didn't go well?

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  • Marcus
    03/29/2018
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    This isn’t good! I don’t support any of this!

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  • Michele
    03/29/2018
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    Ben Carson is deep in the sunken place, shilling for Trump. He betrays the struggles/sacrifices of history with his regressive, right wing agenda. No need for fair housing but a $30k dining table for him is ok! Sad and unfit.

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  • Kttlovejoy
    03/29/2018
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    Even as a shift in administration policies, these changes are not ok. Housing needs to be, by definition indiscriminate, period. Yes! To hearings to be sure that discrimination is not a part of HUD. Please do what it takes to break racist and poverty trends in this system. I call on you representatives!!

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  • Hillary
    03/30/2018
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    Carson is inept, uncaring, and self serving. All qualities that should have disqualified him for such an important position. Peoples lives are at stake-families and children living in appalling conditions while he gets caught buying a $31,000 table and chairs. This selfish brat needs to be sent packing and the only way to see it happen is to VOTE. Sadly, we may have to settle for voting for “better than” if “perfect” isn’t available but “better than” will do to get started with.

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