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Pushing Against HUD, Fair Housing Activists Look to Procedure

With the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule on the ropes, a legal strategy has emerged to challenge HUD's plan to delay enforcement.
January 19, 2018, 8am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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George Sheldon

Fair housing advocates received bad news earlier this month when HUD announced that it would suspend enforcement of the Obama administration's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. But as Kriston Capps writes, HUD's detractors aren't out of legal options. "This isn't the first time that Carson has tried to postpone an Obama-era housing rule: A similar maneuver was struck down in federal court in December. Housing advocates are now hoping HUD's move on the AFFH final rule will meet a similar fate."

The strategy centers on legal procedure, specifically around HUD's possible violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Capps writes, "After HUD released a memo back in August pushing a different Obama-era housing rule out to fiscal year 2020, plaintiffs successfully argued that the maneuver violated the APA."

That other rule concerned HUD's allocation of Section 8 housing vouchers. By using "small area fair market rates, or SAFMRs, for calculating rents in individual ZIP codes rather than averaging rents across metro areas," the rule allowed families using vouchers to move to better neighborhoods, previously unaffordable on the program. 

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Published on Monday, January 8, 2018 in CityLab
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