For half a century, the citizens of Coal Run, Ohio — a predominantly black unincorporated community — were denied public water service. Federal funds helped build water lines around the town, forcing residents to retrieve water from nearby Zanesville, or collect rainwater and store it in containers, risking contamination, NBC News reports.
The practice more or less ended after an $11 million federal jury verdict in 2008 found that Coal Run had illegally been denied water.
But fair housing advocates and organizations around the country fear that that kind of discriminatory practice could return under a proposal by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and the Trump administration.
On Jan. 7, HUD issued a proposal to basically eliminate an Obama-era mandate, outlined in 2015’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, or AFFH, that required certain towns and cities to keep track of, and address, racial bias in housing. HUD under the Trump administration has amended parts of the mandate over the last three years.