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The Policy That Will Replace the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule

The Trump administration didn't just dismantle an Obama-era fair housing rule—it replaced it with a new policy of its own called Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice.
August 6, 2020, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Mark Van Scyoc

As documented repeatedly by Planetizen, the Trump administration recently dismantled the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, a policy adopted by the Obama administration to provide more effective enforcement of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The policy that the Trump administration has chosen to replace the AFFH rule is called the Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice (PCNH) rule, which the the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), is on the record describing as a requirement for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grantees to certify that the use HUD funds will actively promote fair housing.

A few additional articles published at the end of July offer additional insight for how the Trump administration intends to enforce fair housing laws, starting with an article by Matthew Choi for Politico, who includes this explanation of the new rule amidst an article that mostly focuses on the pro-segregationist stance now given full and vocal support by the president of the United States:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a replacement policy last week that essentially leaves localities to self-certify that housing is affordable and free of discrimination — a significant scale-down of the Obama-era rule.

“After reviewing thousands of comments on the proposed changes to the [AFFH] regulation, we found it to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said last week.

Another article by Sean Keenan for the SaportaReport shares insight from experts in the Atlanta area about the effect of the Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice (PCNH) rule.

Experts have pointed out to SaportaReport that the move seems to allow local governments to let developers concentrate low-income housing projects in pockets of poverty and keep them clear of uninviting wealthy suburbs, clashing with the conventional wisdom that says spreading out affordable housing in areas with varying income levels is crucial to combating income inequality, eliminating food deserts and diversifying communities. 

Among the commentary shared in Keenan's article is a warning from Georgia State University urban studies professor Dan Immergluck, who says that the Trump administration shouldn't be expected to stop with the AFFH in dismantling the federal government's ability to enforce fair housing laws.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 in Politico
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