Does Dr. Ben Carson Believe in Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing Mission?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is the federal agency charged with protecting vulnerable Americans from housing discrimination and ensuring that all people have equal access to housing opportunities. In recent years, HUD has taken important steps toward fulfilling this mission.

One major recent achievement is the “affirmatively further fair housing” (AFFH) rule. Under the rule, communities receiving HUD funding must examine local patterns of housing segregation and inequities and then create plans to effectively address them. By doing so, AFFH attempts to fulfill the goals of the Fair Housing Act, which banned overt housing discrimination in 1968 but has not yet succeeded in dismantling segregation and inequality in many cities and localities across the country. Research has demonstrated that racial and economic segregation creates disadvantages, not only in terms of economic factors, like employment and income, but also in access to high-performing schools and health care.

But HUD’s progress over the past eight years is now uncertain going forward because the man President-elect Trump nominated to lead the department, Dr. Ben Carson, is skeptical of its mission. Tomorrow, the members of Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will have an opportunity to question Carson on his vision for the department’s future during his confirmation hearing. And if the nominee's writing is any indicator, policy changes are coming to HUD.

Dr. Carson has written that he opposes AFFH and other HUD programs designed to promote integration and address housing discrimination. In a 2015 op-ed in The Washington Times, Carson labeled AFFH as a “mandated social-engineering scheme” and an example of “failed socialism,” despite acknowledging the government’s role in “greatly reduc[ing] explicit discrimination in housing” through the Fair Housing Act.  

In his op-ed, Carson also took issue with Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs. Inclusive Communities Project, et al., a Supreme Court case in which the justices upheld the disparate impact standard. HUD also issued a rule in 2013 clearly laying out the disparate impact standard. So what is disparate impact? Under the Fair Housing Act, it means that a housing policy that appears neutral on its face can be deemed discriminatory if it unfairly burdens a particular group based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability, even if that impact was unintentional.

Disparate impact is extremely important for ensuring that housing policies are not unintentionally harming vulnerable communities and preventing them from obtaining housing. Housing discrimination against domestic violence victims is one example. Many properties have policies that say that any criminal activity can lead to the eviction of the household. Landlords have used these policies to evict people who are victimized by domestic violence in their homes. The ACLU has challenged this practice using disparate impact claims because most domestic violence victims are women and thus women are disproportionately harmed.

Another example might be an apartment complex that only accepts applicants who have full-time jobs. Regardless of the apartment manager’s intent, this policy bars disabled veterans and other people with disabilities who may not be able to work full-time, even if they can afford the apartment. Without effective enforcement by HUD of the disparate impact rule, many people will have little recourse in objecting to discriminatory policies like these that bar them from housing opportunities.

As HUD secretary, Dr. Carson would have the power to build on these achievements or to undermine them. Whether the future HUD secretary takes the mandate to secure housing equality seriously will have an enormous impact on millions of people — people of color, women, disabled people, poor people, and people who live in the thousands of jurisdictions that receive HUD funding. Members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs need Dr. Carson to answer on the record whether or not he is committed to the agency’s fair housing mission.

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Jon Thompson

Your attack on Ben Carson as Secretary of HUD, demonstrate why I quit the radical left Democratic Party ACLU. When I was a member, I was proud to be a part of an ACLU organization that fought for individual discrimation of law, unlike today's aggressive political activist social engineering policies that say that unless one agrees with your political ideology, one is a instigator of discrimination. Just like many Democratic/Republican President in the past, who have nominated individuals who do not have the credentials for the particular job, Carson should also be given a chance to see what he can do. But instead of focusing in on existing Civil Liberties issues, the ACLU choose to go on the attack Carson and invent an issue that does not yet exist, if it will exist at all. That's what the ACLU is now all about, inventing issues and attacking anyone who does subscribe to your radical agenda. It must really be unsettling, that you can't play the victimized Race Card with Carson.

Anonymous

He's a heathen.

Anonymous

He's an example of failed humanism: "I never saw a body with bullet holes that was worse than taking away the rights of gun owners."
He has nothing I want, none of them has anything I ever desire bc all I've ever wanted was to be a human being, and he fails miserably at that.

Anonymuluos

What I find ironic while viewing his nomination hearing is that while he has effectively demonized the concept of social engineering, what he and most other conservatives call for throughout their platforms is exactly that albeit from a reactionary perspective. At one point He illustrated his agenda by quoting a study he knew of that identifies 3 activities that greatly prevent economic hardship: finishing school,getting a full time job,getting married and having children. On the surface these seem like reasonably universal ideals but when one reflects upon real life ideological diversity and the diffusion of actual cultural realities in USA and the world, they are not universal nor progressive value lynchpins. And they also don't actually embrace the full "entrepreneurial opportunity spirit for all" projected throughout conservative narratives. The problem with such inconsistent platforms is that from the outset they actually have no place in the policymaking sector in the context of a deregulated liberty based capitalist society. Mandated educational systems are a given and by definition is social engineering in principle I don't need to elaborate..except to say the rights of citizens to privatize the education of their chikdren should be protected constitutionally. Carson's testimony in context of the fundamental GOP platforms says much more than what we say. It says: were going to discourage reliance on safety nets in society by dismantling them so as to encourage the desperation that gets people To dig deeper into what we believe in as this mystically inherent and all pervasive,conformally resourceful American nature. That alone is speculative social engineering at best... Irresponsible divestment of government responsibility towards its population at second best.. insidious economic plot for sociopolitical population control and mass exploitation of "human capital" comparable to the human enslavement that existed openly before 1865, at worst and in the most likelihood.. this conclusion comes even before considering the gross implications that at the same time this man and his party places deregulation of commercial industries and business interests on a scale that would produce not only a readily exploitable work force but then also a commercial environment that will allow any large competitors to have no restrictions as to how they will prey upon,monopolize, and outsource any given industry..and therefore always retain a cutting edge against upstart entrepreneurship. Surely it is no small coincidence that the president elect himself is a well known adept of corporate hostile takeover schemes,threat and execution. Eg his well known foray into the now illegal practice of greenmailing. And to the last point, this is the most morally and ethically contentious arena for government intervention and policymaking engagement of all the three points he highlighted. They are normalizing this concept that the government gets to determine and idealize the composition of what constitutes a family..and perhaps to assert control over birth control, set a standard for having children as a civic duty. Family composition and birth control as government institutions are naturally coming under fire as hypocritical to the concepts of civil liberty. I take his citation as a sugar coated commitment to further the realm of affirmative government cultural intervention/ social engineering/family standardizing aims of the GOP in those arenas. In other words: Carson GOP: regulate/mandate the family, not commerce.

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