President Joe Biden has taken executive action to address racial equity, including calling on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assess moves made by the Trump administration on fair housing.

“Based on that examination, the Secretary shall take any necessary steps, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to implement the Fair Housing Act’s requirements that HUD administer its programs in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing and HUD’s overall duty to administer the Act … including by preventing practices with an unjustified discriminatory effect,” says the Jan. 26 memorandum.

The agency is directed to look at several moves made under Trump, including one that repealed the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule that was established during the Obama administration.

“President Biden’s executive order is a vital step toward redressing the federal government’s legacy of housing discrimination and securing equal access to housing opportunity for all,” said acting HUD secretary Matthew E. Ammon in a statement. “Racially discriminatory housing practices and policies have kept communities of color from accessing safe, high-quality housing and the chance to build wealth that comes through homeownership. To this day, people of color disproportionately bear the burdens of homelessness, pollution, climate-related housing instability, and economic inequality because of deliberate and systemic efforts to deny them fair and equal access to housing opportunities.”

With the executive order, Biden “is taking meaningful action to advance racial equity in housing and expand opportunity for all. HUD looks forward to working closely with the president and his administration to expand equitable access to housing for millions of Americans,” said Ammon.

Housing and civil rights organizations will be closely watching the outcome.

The New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) issued a statement after Biden's executive order.

“The legacy of redlining is still with us, as communities across America—including here in New York— continue to struggle with segregation," said NYSAFAH president and CEO Jolie Milstein. "We must vigilantly guard against overt and implicit discrimination in housing. Fair housing policies and research help accomplish exactly that while promoting a better, more inclusive America. We applaud President Biden for his leadership and look forward to working with his administration to create fair, equitable neighborhoods across New York.”