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North Carolina Fights Against Housing Discrimination Rule Change

Aerial image of an American neighborhood with the houses in neat rows.
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Nationwide, 78% of suburban census tracts were predominantly white in 1980. That fell to 42% by 2009. Credit: Getty Images Nationwide, 78% of suburban census tracts were predominantly white in 1980. That fell to 42% by 2009.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein joined 21 other state attorneys general in criticizing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed changes to the disparate impact standard.

The concept of disparate impact reinforces the Fair Housing Act and offers tenants and borrowers protection from housing policies that seem neutral but, in practice, put certain groups at risk. The legal argument was employed in lower courts for decades to challenge coded racial segregation policies. In 2015, the Supreme Court clarified the Fair Housing Act to include disparate impact protections, asserting that housing discrimination can occur without direct intention. Among the proposed rule changes, the U.S. HUD seeks to shift the burden of proof when it comes to discrimination from the landlord or lender to the renter or home-buyer.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Stacy Seicshnaydre, professor of law and associate dean of Experiential Learning and Public Interest Programs at Tulane University about who would be affected by the policy change.

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.