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Obama Administration Announces Fair Housing Rule

The Obama administration announced Wednesday a new rule aimed at strengthening fair housing practices.
Image: Barack Obama
President Barack Obama, joined Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, left, and Chicanos Por La Causa's David Adame, speaks outside a home in a housing development, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Carolyn Kaster / AP

The Obama administration announced Wednesday a new rule aimed at strengthening fair housing practices and helping end racial segregation in neighborhoods.

The announcement came from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro in Chicago, a city with deeply entrenched racial housing patterns.

"The truth is for too long federal efforts have often fallen short,” Castro said at a news conference next to new public housing apartments and a playground on Chicago's South Side.

Related: Supreme Court Preserves Protections of Fair Housing Law

The announcement also comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, rejected an attempt to narrow the scope of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, one of the nation's most important civil rights laws and is considered the last major legislative achievement of the civil rights era.

It prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of homes, based on race, color, religion, and sex.

But this new rule pushes beyond discrimination.

According to a HUD , the rule “sets out a framework for local governments, states, and public housing agencies (PHAs) to take meaningful actions to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination.”

HUD will provide instructions and data to local communities to help figure out neighborhood patterns of segregation and integration and racial and ethnic concentrations of poverty.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it's no surprise his city was chosen to make the announcement.

"We have a long history as it relates to fair housing," Emanuel said while standing at the site that once housed Stateway Garden's eight high-rise public housing buildings, which along with Cabrini-Green and the Robert Taylor Homes were once some of the country's most striking symbols of urban blight. "I think this is the perfect place not just because of the history of Chicago but because of the future we are building today."

The new rule will take effect after 30 days, but will be phased in over time.