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Judge Rules in Favor of Obama Rule That Will Help 200,000 Low Income Families in 2018

President Obama

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the Obama rule to be executed starting January 1, 2018. This is great news to low-income families because they will have more chances for better housing in a more affluent neighborhood.

The rule, created on Obama-era, was intended to separate regions of concentrated poverty in two dozen metro regions, from Atlanta and Charlotte to San Diego and Honolulu. It would work by considering the rental costs in particular neighborhoods, as opposed to averaging it to over a whole metropolitan area. Through that, it is much easier for low-income families to afford better apartments in a well-to-do neighborhood with good schools, higher-paying jobs, and lower crime rate.

Previously, public rental assistance for low-income families usually allow them to reside only in segregated communities with high-poverty rates. The Section 8 vouchers that they receive are either not accepted by individual landlords or too low to cover the rent in more affluent communities.

On November 2016, after years of research and public debate, then-HUD Secretary Julian Castro issued a rule requiring house agencies in 23 metro areas to take on "small area fair market rents" making way for a redestribution of voucher value, higher government subsidies for units in more affluent neighborhoods, and lower subsidies for apartments in poor communities.

However, late last year, Ben Carson, the secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Trump administration, announced that the rule will be postponed for about two more years to allow the recent administration to fully understand it and prepare for the changes. Many civil rights organizations rallied against it and sued the Trump administration.

Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, appointed by Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, found HUD's decision to be "arbitrary and capricious." On December 23, Howell stated that there are no enough reasons for the delay and that it would negatively affect the plaintiffs wanting to move to a safer suburban community.

This restored rule will give better opportunities for more than 200,000 families to choose where to live.

"This represents a new opportunity for tens of thousands of families with housing vouchers," said Philip Tegeler, president and executive director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council. "It's about the right to choose where to live and the right not to be segregated. Good housing policy does not confine families to high poverty neighborhoods."

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Funds, one of the groups that disputed HUD's attempts to delay the rule, also thought that it's about time that the blacks, Latinos, and all other low-income Americans have an fair righst in all aspects, including housing settlement.

"Suspending this rule was yet another attack by this administration on communities of color," said Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of NAACP. "By restoring the prior rule, this injunction is a key step toward expanding equal opportunity in all aspects of American life."

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