Magazine article American Banker

Senate Dems Criticize Carson over HUD Enforcement Practices

Magazine article American Banker

Senate Dems Criticize Carson over HUD Enforcement Practices

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Collins

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats sharply criticized Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Thursday, accusing his agency of failing to enforce fair housing laws.

"HUD is responsible for combating housing discrimination," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told Carson at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. "I was hoping you" would follow the law,

Carson defended his record, saying HUD is involved in many pending lawsuits against wrongdoers.

"We are constantly involved in lawsuits that we have brought against people for housing discrimination," Carson said. "We try to create a fair environment for all people in all of our policies."

But Warren pointed to a delay in implementing Obama-era regulations designed to force local governments to take steps to undo and prevent racial segregation. In 2015, HUD implemented a mandate that requires communities requesting Community Development Block Grants to analyze obstacles that minorities face in securing housing and propose plans to address them. But the Trump administration delayed the effective date of that rule until 2020.

"You even said that you won't review whatever information that cities had already submitted to HUD," Warren said.

Carson argued that HUD was petitioned by "dozens and dozens of cities and municipalities to delay it because of the costs" of implementing the regulations.

"We simply gave local officials the option of implementing the law now or by 2020. So we did not delay it. That was a mischaracterization," Carson said. …

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