Attorney General Herring Files Brief Opposing Suspension of HUD’s Fair Housing RulePosted: Updated:
06/06/2018 Release from the Office of Attorney General Mark Herring:
RICHMOND(June 6, 2018) –Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of attorneys general and cities, including Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, in opposing the dismantling of an important rule that helps communities in Virginia, and around the country, increase access to high quality affordable housing free from discrimination.
Attorney General Herring previously filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the nation’s fair housing enforcement programs against a challenge out of Texas that sought to end the use of “disparate impact analysis” to fight housing segregation and discrimination.
“Safe, secure, affordable housing is a bedrock of successful families and communities, but the truth is we still have work to do to ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally when they are trying to buy or rent a home,” said Attorney General Herring. “By undermining its own rule without any public notice or input, HUD has violated the law and its own core mission. We are going to bat for Virginians to help protect against housing discrimination.”
Last month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development unilaterally took steps to undermine its 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, which was a major step forward in meeting the Fair Housing Act’s mandate to advance fair housing throughout the United States. Without soliciting any public input, HUD announced it would withdraw its Local Government Assessment Tool - an essential component of the Rule - that assists and guides HUD grantees in developing fair housing opportunities in their jurisdictions.
In the short time the Rule has been in place, many states and cities have benefited from the higher-quality data and assessment tools provided by HUD, the focus on community engagement, and the requirement that grantees develop goals to address barriers to fair housing.
In the brief, Attorney General Herring and his fellow signers write that HUD’s decision to withdraw the Local Government Assessment Tool results in an indefinite suspension of a carefully tailored regulatory scheme years in the making. By taking this drastic step without first soliciting public comment, HUD ignored the views of the stakeholders. HUD’s May 23, 2018 order marks the second time since January that the agency has attempted to dismantle the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule without first providing notice and soliciting public comment. Acting without justification, without notice, and without public comment, the brief argues that HUD is acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner in violation of the law.
This brief has been filed in the pending case National Fair Housing Alliance, et al. v. Ben Carson, HUD, et al. filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Joining Attorney General Herring in the brief were the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington; and the cities of Austin, TX, New Orleans, LA, Oakland, CA, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and Toledo, OH.