Biden Administration Aims to Require Localities to Submit ‘Equity Plans’ in New Fair Housing Rule

The Biden administration has introduced a new rule that would require state and local governments to submit “equity plans” to the federal government to avoid violating fair housing rules. According to the Washington Examiner, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) submitted the proposal on Thursday that mandates local governments submit plans and reports related to civil rights concerns or risk losing access to federal subsidies.

The administration claims the new requirements, which are part of a rule called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” follow through on a provision of the 1968 Fair Housing Act that required localities to “affirmatively further” fair housing in response to historical segregation. A version of the rule was initially implemented under the Obama administration but was repealed by former President Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign. The Biden administration restored parts of the housing rule in June last year but withheld the part of the rule related to compliance. However, Thursday’s update aims to follow up on that part of the measure.

The process for compliance, which was criticized as overly burdensome for local governments in the Obama version of the rule, will now involve local governments submitting an equity plan. Housing authorities would need to submit equity plans every five years that include an “analysis of fair housing issues confronting their communities, goals, and strategies to remedy those issues in concrete ways, and a description of community engagement,” which would then be written into planning documents.

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