In the op-ed, Yentel notes that the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s intent to revise both the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and Disparate Impact rules is part of a larger pattern of efforts to weaken the agency’s fair housing responsibilities.
HUD has slowed high-priority fair housing investigations, required court intervention to prevent it from reversing policies that make it easier for low income families to move out of high-poverty neighborhoods, and let the city of Houston off the hook for perpetuating segregation by agreeing to a weak settlement, to name a few examples.
Regarding HUD Secretary Carson’s expression of interest in lessening restrictive local zoning, Yentel says, “It’s hard to take him at his word. His is the administration that let Westchester County (NY) off easy after its nine-year battle with the federal government pushing the county to remove such barriers.”
Yentel says, “Reasonable people can debate whether and how to build off of years of input and work to further improve HUD’s fair housing efforts. But constructive discussion is difficult in an environment where HUD bases the need for change on faulty assessments, exaggerations, and dismissal of sound research as part of a larger pattern of undermining fair housing and under a president who, as a private citizen, was sued by the Department of Justice for discriminating against African-Americans and who today continues to stoke racism and racial discord.”
Yentel is the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), which was founded in 1974 and works for socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes have affordable and decent homes.