Cuomo joins lawsuit against Trump administration for failing to enforce Fair Housing Act

Posted On Tue, May 15, 2018 By

Posted On Tue, May 15, 2018 By In Policy

Photo via Pixabay

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday plans for New York State to join a lawsuit against the federal government for failing to carry out the Fair Housing Act, a 1968 law aimed at protecting people from discrimination when renting or buying. The suit seeks to reverse the decision by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to suspend President Barack Obama-era anti-segregation initiatives, known as an Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. This rule requires local and state governments to address segregated housing patterns as a condition of receiving federal funding for housing. Joining civil rights groups in the lawsuit, with New York as the first state to do so, Cuomo called HUD’s decision to delay this rule “repugnant” and “un-American.”

“As a former HUD Secretary, it is unconscionable to me that the agency entrusted to protect against housing discrimination is abdicating its responsibility, and New York will not stand by and allow the federal government to undo decades of progress in housing rights,” Cuomo said. “The right to rent or buy housing free from discrimination is fundamental under the law, and we must do everything in our power to protect those rights and fight segregation in our communities.”

The Obama administration adopted AFFH Rule in 2015 to strengthen HUD’s civil rights oversight of local and state recipients of block grant funds. The purpose of the rule is to encourage the grantees to further fair housing and meet the goals of the Fair Housing Act, which was first passed in 1968. Under the rule, communities must analyze patterns of segregation, racially concentrated areas of poverty and disparities in access to opportunity, City Lab reported.

In January, President Donald Trump’s administration announced it would be rolling back the deadline for communities to comply with the AFFH rule to 2020. According to the governor’s office, HUD “quit its obligation to provide civil rights oversight for as much as $5.5 billion per year in the funding that is distributed to over 40 jurisdictions in New York and almost 1,000 jurisdictions across the country.”

Alphonso David, the governor’s counsel, said: “By suspending this rule and ignoring its obligations under the law, the federal government has made it impossible for New York and other states to meet their obligations under the law.”

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