The Washington Times reported Thursday that President Donald Trump has ended the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. Established in 2015, the measure’s provisions effectively force suburban communities to build high-density, low-income housing.
But not on Trump’s watch.
“Protecting American communities”
According to the Times, the Trump administration says the Obama-era regulation “took away decision-making from local communities.” A fact sheet released by the White House Thursday said a new rule put forth by the administration, titled Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice, “will further fair housing, while respecting the role of State and local decision-making for their communities.”
The fact sheet indicated that the move is aimed at “protecting American communities from excessive Federal overreach and preserving local decision-making.”
“This action ends the Federal encroachment on local communities that threatened our nation’s suburbs,” the White House argues.
“A waste of time”
According to the Times, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement that the Trump administration found Obama’s AFFH regulation “to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with.”
Carson said the rule “too often” resulted “in funds being steered away from communities that need them most.”
“Instead, the Trump administration has established programs like Opportunity Zones that are driving billions of dollars of capital into underserved communities where affordable housing exists, but opportunity does not,” the HUD secretary added, according to the Times. “Washington has no business dictating what is best to meet your local community’s unique needs.”
Instead, Trump’s new rule “defines fair housing broadly to mean housing that, among other attributes, is affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination, and accessible under civil rights law,” HUD said in a statement, according to the Times. Carson noted that HUD “will ultimately terminate” the Obama-era rule in favor of the new regulation.
The left reacts
Of course, not everyone is pleased with the move. Speaking with the Times, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law president and executive director Kristen Clarke said Trump’s move will prompt “a devastating race to the bottom that will harm Black communities is the inevitable result.”
“Decades of experience show us that strong HUD requirements, guidance, and oversight are absolutely essential to rooting out the structural racism in housing,” Clarke added, according to the Times.
Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden, for his part, has vowed to reinstate the Obama-era housing rule. It’s a position that makes at least one thing clear: Americans who want to keep control of their communities only have one option this November — and he’s already in the White House.