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New Obama housing rules target segregated neighborhoods

Under the new housing discrimination rules, HUD would provide communities with local and regional information about “segregated living patterns” and “racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty” that must be addressed.

The Obama administration moved Wednesday to root out segregation across the United States with a contentious set of regulations meant to update decades-old housing law and bolster the president’s legacy on civil rights.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiative is designed to diversify America’s wealthiest neighborhoods while reinvigorating poor communities around the country. Areas that don’t comply with the new rules risk losing federal funding.

HUD Secretary Julián Castro said the new rules would help America “overcome the legacy of segregation” in this country, and give poor families a better opportunity to succeed.

“Where a child grows up should not dictate where they end up,” Castro told reporters. “Unfortunately, too many Americans find their dreams limited by where they come from.”

HUD estimates the rule will cost local communities $25 million each year to comply, while the agency will spend another $9 million annually overseeing the process.

The rules have attracted fierce criticism from Republicans who say the effort amounts to unwarranted social engineering. They’re threatening to block funding for the rule in Congress.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) decried the regulations as “President Obama’s most aggressive attempt yet to force his utopian ideology on American communities disguised under the banner of ‘fairness.’ ”

He accused HUD of “punishing neighborhoods that don’t fall in line with [Obama’s] liberal agenda.”

Responding to the cries of federal overreach, White House press secretary Josh Earnest maintained Wednesday that the administration believes “zoning is and should remain a
local power.”  Full Story

Additional Resources

Former HUD Official Hopes Fair Housing Rule Sparks More Community Investment

Presidential Hopeful Ben Carson Is Skeptical of the New Fair Housing Rule