The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, led by Secretary Ben Carson, is rolling back efforts to enforce federal fair housing laws.
A New York Times investigation found that HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Division is pausing a handful of investigations that President Obama’s administration made a priority.
That includes an investigation into a Hesperia, California, ordinance that barred spreading group homes for parolees and former offenders across the city. Another involved accessibility for the disabled at developments by major home builders Toll Brothers and Epcon Communities.
The department also canceled a sit-down with Facebook leadership planned in late 2016, shortly after Donald Trump was elected president. The meeting had been scheduled after the department discovered that the social media giant’s advertising tools had allowed advertisers to effectively exclude certain ethnicities from seeing ads, including for housing.
The latest news comes after a memo leaked showing that HUD was removing the language “free from discrimination” from its mission statement.
Last week Carson told the Senate Banking Committee that he would suspend an Obama-era initiative that required cities and towns to create a blueprint for integrating racially divided neighborhoods, the Times reported.
HUD told the Times it was turning its focus to sexual harassment and disability-related issues, which make up 60 percent of complaints, according to a spokesperson. [NYT] – Dennis Lynch