Julián Castro: Delaying HUD rule guts desegregation and affordable housing efforts

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s getting more expensive to live in Austin every day and Friday the Trump administration delayed a deadline encouraging affordable and fair housing within cities.

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro says the move effectively guts a rule the Obama administration put in place to tackle desegregation. Castro told KXAN the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing directive required cities to make a fair housing assessment to “work at desegregating communities that have dealt with that issue for so many years.”

Castro says the impact won’t be as bad in a city like Austin, which has proactively tackled economic segregation, but medium to smaller cities could use the development to kick the can down the road.

“The Trump Administration is basically telling these cities they don’t need to worry about it. The status quo is fine,” explained Castro.

However, this does put the city of Austin in uncharted territory.

Erica Leak, Austin Housing policy manager, says “the biggest issue in the Austin area really is rising housing costs.” Leak was just beginning to work on Austin’s Fair Housing Assessment, which was slated to be turned in at the end of 2018. The plan that Leak turns in is how the city gets federal funding for big and innovative ideas. For the first time this year, they were taking a regional approach including other cities in Central Texas.

“We’ll continue to look for ways to move forward. We’re just not entirely certain what specific path we will take towards that,” said Leak.

The current staff at the Housing and Urban Development says cities need more time and assistance developing their plans. The city of Austin will continue to receive federal funding and operate under their previous plan developed in 2015.

The new deadline for the Central Texas report is October 2020.

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