Open Communities Alliance v. Carson

Scope of Statutory Rights and Remedies
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Case Description: 

Open Communities Alliance, a Connecticut-based fair housing organization, and two individuals, sued the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and HUD Secretary Ben Carson challenging its decision to suspend a rule that would have assisted low-income families in securing affordable housing. Public Citizen Litigation joined several civil rights firms in representing the plaintiffs.

The federal government’s Housing Choice Voucher program—formerly known as the Section 8 voucher program—subsidizes the housing costs of more than two million low-income American households. HUD’s Small Area Fair Market Rent rule would have improved the way that the value of housing vouchers is calculated by allowing low-income families access to a broader market of rental properties. The lawsuit challenges HUD’s delay of the rule’s implementation.

On behalf of the three plaintiffs, we moved for a preliminary injunction, asking the court to enjoin HUD’s delay. In a decision issued on December 23, 2017, the district court held that HUD’s 2-year delay was both procedurally unlawful and arbitrary and capricious. The court granted the motion for a preliminary injunction, and vacated HUD’s action.