No matter what one thinks of Obama, it’s hard to argue with the fact that his administration has done a great deal to further integrate America’s neighborhoods. It was while Obama was president that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a new rule requiring cities to analyze racial and financial segregation among their residents. It was Obama’s solicitor general, Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., who filed an amicus brief on the side of fair-housing advocates in Texas Department of Community Affairs v Inclusive Communities, a landmark Supreme Court case about 1968’s Fair Housing Act. It was the Obama administration that proposed changes to the Section 8 housing-voucher program that would give low-income families who live in wealthier areas more money for their vouchers.
Now, after the election, all of these accomplishments are at risk, and the policies that promote the concept of fair housing—essentially, making sure every American has equal access to safe and secure housing in good neighborhoods—may once again fall by the wayside. President-elect Donald J. Trump has not yet named a HUD secretary, but he has floated some potential appointees, including the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has called one plan for fair housing a “mandated social-engineering scheme.” Trump himself has also expressed disdain for many of Obama’s housing policies, especially those trying to reduce segregation, which is perhaps not surprising for a man who got his start in real estate by refusing to rent to minorities in New York.