Another Bad Week For Americans With Carson Leading HUD

This week, Ben Carson defended illegally delaying federal housing funding for Puerto Rico and complained about “political correctness” when given a chance to apologize for his past transphobic comments. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is making it harder for families to fight discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. In short, it was a very bad week for Americans with Ben Carson leading HUD.

Ben Carson and HUD officials defended missing a legally required deadline to provide Puerto Rico federal housing funds allocated by Congress after Hurricane Maria.

NBC News: “The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, defended his agency for knowingly missing a legally required deadline that would have kicked off a monthslong process to help Puerto Rico get billions in federal housing funds Congress allocated after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.  Carson justified HUD’s actions after Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., asked him ‘where in federal law is HUD empowered to withhold money that was supposed to go to Puerto Rico’ during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.”

New reports show that the administration’s proposal to roll back disparate impact claims will make it hader to fight housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

The Guardian: “The Trump administration has proposed a shift in rules that would make it ‘nearly impossible’ for Americans to sue for housing discrimination caused by algorithms, according to tech scholars and civil rights groups. Absolving companies of wrongdoing when algorithms are involved could have a major effect on the housing market, which often relies on automation – in the form of background checks, credit score analysis, and analyzing an applicant’s history – to decide whether to rent or sell someone a home. The new ruling would raise the bar for legal challenges against housing discrimination, making cases brought against landlords and lenders less likely to succeed.”

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The rule would dramatically change the standards by which a person or entity, including the federal government, can sue to end discriminatory housing practices through what is known as a ‘disparate impact’ claim, thereby weakening the Fair Housing Act (FHA), a Civil-Rights-Era federal law protecting people who have historically experienced racism and discrimination that limit their housing options.”

When asked to address past transphobic comments, Ben Carson refused to apologize and responded by saying that political correctness would “destroy our nation.”

CNN: “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said Tuesday that political correctness is ‘going to destroy our nation,’ when pressed by a Democratic lawmaker to apologize for comments he reportedly made at a meeting in September.  At a House Financial Services Committee hearing on housing policy, Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton of Virginia said she wanted to give Carson a chance to apologize for comments made during a meeting last month with department staff in which he expressed concern about ‘big, hairy men’ attempting to enter women’s homeless shelters.”