Posted on July 3, 2018

The Trump Administration Now Has Fair Housing in Its Crosshairs

Sarah Okeson, Alternet, June 29, 2018

The Trump administration is trying to make it easier for banks, landlords and insurance companies to discriminate against minority homeowners and tenants.

Anna Maria Farías, an assistant secretary at HUD, is asking for comments on possible revisions that could “add clarity” and “reduce uncertainty” on a HUD rule based on a legal theory the Obama administration and its predecessors used to prove discrimination cases.

The theory, “disparate impact analysis,” measures discrimination, such as African-Americans paying higher interest rates on loans, without having to prove an intent to discriminate.

More than 50 years after passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, signed just seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, African-American homeownership rates are almost the same as the 1960s. Neighborhoods are more segregated now than they were in 1918.


A 2013 HUD rule meant to help fight long-standing segregation laid out how to analyze disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act. A 2015 Supreme Court case, Texas Department of Housing v. Inclusive Communities Project, upheld using the theory in Fair Housing Act cases.

Republican lawmakers have urged HUD Secretary Ben Carson to review the rule. Seventeen of the 18 House members who signed the letter have received $55,333 in campaign contributions so far for the 2018 election from the political action committee of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America which has sued HUD over the rule.


The Trump administration claims it needs to consider revising the 2013 rule because of the Supreme Court case, but Stacy Seicshnaydre, a law school professor at Tulane University, said nothing in the Supreme Court ruling undermines the HUD rule.