Trump weakened honest housing protections. Biden is placing some enamel again in them

The Obama rule, for instance, “allow[ed] people to bring legal action to stop policies that harm them, for example a landlord requiring tenants to work a certain number of hours a week, which on its face may not seem discriminatory but which reduces housing choice for protected groups, in this case people with disabilities who often work part time to accommodate their health needs.” 

“This is one of the most important tools that there is to address systemic racism in housing,” civil rights attorney and former HUD fair housing attorney Michelle Aronowitz, who helped develop the Obama disparate impact regulation, told The Washington Post. “You really need to look at the effects of government and corporate policies—not just what is meant or intended, but what the impact is. That’s fundamentally what this doctrine does. You shouldn’t be able to enact or maintain policies that lead to disparate outcomes based on unexamined assumptions or unnecessary conventions.”

A 2015 rule, gutted by Team Trump in 2020, required cities and towns to identify patterns of discrimination and then do something about it. Trump’s move against that requirement was part of his effort to win over white suburban women. “The Suburban Housewives of America must read this article,” he tweeted at the time. “Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream. I will preserve it, and make it even better!”

Literally promoting discrimination as the American dream. In reality, suburbs are far more racially diverse than Trump imagined, though discrimination remains a serious issue, and one that contributes to long-term patterns of inequality. “So much of wealth inequality has its basis in housing discrimination and the country’s failure to address fair access to housing,” Dennis Parker, executive director of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, said to the Post. “These are issues that really have a long-term intergenerational effect.”

The Office of Management and Budget posted notices Tuesday showing that the two rules are under review. While Fudge and other officials can’t comment on them during that process, she recently said, commemorating the anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, that “the purpose of the law is to bring an end to discrimination in housing and to eliminate the patterns of racial and ethnic segregation and economic disparities that have long existed in our neighborhoods and communities.”

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