Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in the Deep South: Obama's AFFH Rule Won't Make Rural America Less Segregated
45 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 1, 2019
2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The Act’s grand purpose was to make available to all Americans access to “open housing:” the opportunity to live in the community of their choosing without, or in despite of, structural and individual discrimination against them. Fifty years later, the Act’s goal remains largely unfulfilled as many small towns and rural areas in the United States are still racially divided. Through its grantmaking programs for housing and community development, HUD reaches into every corner of the United States. HUD thus possesses a relatively unfettered opportunity to use its grantmaking as a powerful incentive to encourage communities to achieve open housing. Historically, however, HUD has failed to rise to meet this opportunity. In 2015, during the Obama administration, HUD adopted the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule intended to revitalize the way in which HUD and its grantees ensure that they meet the open housing goals of the Fair Housing Act. The Trump administration has suspended the implementation of this regulation. Using Mississippi as a case study, the author argues that even with full implementation of the Obama-era regulation, small towns and rural areas in the Deep South will remain as segregated as ever. The full promise of the Fair Housing Act itself will remain unrealized in small towns and rural areas until HUD or Congress recognizes the urban bias in HUD’s regulations and corrects it.
Keywords: HUD, housing and urban development, fair housing, affirmatively further, civil rights, affordable housing, policy
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