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Hartford Nonprofit Sues Trump Administration Over Housing Discrimination Rule Change

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

A civil rights group based in Hartford, Connecticut, says it's suing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development over recent rollbacks to protections against racial segregation.

Erin Boggs is executive director of the Open Communities Alliance. She said the federal rule change takes away a key tool to counteract the history of systemic housing discrimination, like red-lining.

“The crafters of the Fair Housing Act recognized a wrong had been done for a very long time on fair housing. That wrong didn’t magically undo itself. And, in fact, entities receiving money from the government needed to play an active and conscious role in undoing that harm,” Boggs said.

Boggs said the Trump Administration’s change makes it difficult to enforce the federal Fair Housing Act — a landmark follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

National and Connecticut chapters of the ACLU represent Bogg’s organization and counterparts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They want a judge to reverse the changes.

Elana Bildner is from the ACLU of Connecticut.

“The federal government had stepped in and essentially changed all the rules of the game. Basically, we’re alleging, re-wrote the Fair Housing Act to kind of fit its own political purposes,” Bildner said.

HUD has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.