Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to include New York State in a lawsuit filed against the federal government for its failure to enforce the Fair Housing Act. The suit is in response to Ben Carson and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announcing that it would delay an Obama-era anti-segregation measure known as the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which was enacted in 2015 to combat discrimination in housing policy.
The move by Cuomo makes New York the first state to join in on the national lawsuit filed by a group of fair housing advocates seeking to reverse HUD’s suspension of the implementation of the AFFH Rule.
”As a former HUD Secretary, it is unconscionable to me that the agency entrusted to protect against housing discrimination is abdicating its responsibility, and New York will not stand by and allow the federal government to undo decades of progress in housing rights,” said Governor Cuomo said in a press release. “The right to rent or buy housing free from discrimination is fundamental under the law, and we must do everything in our power to protect those rights and fight segregation in our communities.”
In January, HUD announced that the agency would be postponing the implementation of a requirement that local governments conduct an in-depth analysis called an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) until 2020. As Curbed reported, Carson penned an op-ed in 2015 where he called the rule an experiment in “failed socialism” which, paired with other statements throughout his career, suggests that “a delay in anti-segregation measures is ultimately an attempt to undermine them.”
In March, the city announced plans to proceed with its own fair housing planning process, called “Where We Live NYC,” in efforts to ensure that the city is fostering inclusive communities, promoting fair housing choices, and increasing access to opportunities for all New Yorkers.
“We are pleased that the State of New York recognizes the importance of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule and that it is standing up for their many cities, towns, counties, and public housing authorities that would have, had the Rule been in effect, developed plans to ensure that everyone in the state has fair housing opportunities,” said the Civil Rights Organizations involved in the suit, in a collective statement.