President Joe Biden‘s administration is reviving—and strengthening—a fair housing rule to combat racial discrimination. Former President Donald Trump had cut the rule while in office.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Thursday that it has proposed bringing back the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. The rule had forced cities accepting federal housing money to assess and address local housing discrimination in an effort to rectify decades of redlining and segregation. Its intention was to have communities change their zoning laws to allow more apartment and condo buildings and smaller, affordable, single-family homes to go up.

“This proposed rule is a major step toward fulfilling the law’s full promise and advancing our legal, ethical, and moral charge to provide equitable access to opportunity for all,” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in a statement released on Thursday.

Many wealthier suburbs had fought these changes as residents worried their property values could fall as a result. The rule would likely have resulted in smaller, cheaper homes going up in these areas geared toward renters and buyers with potentially lower incomes. This could have altered the racial and socioeconomic makeup of these communities, essentially desegregating them.

Trump had tweeted the rule was “having a devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas,” on June 30, 2020.

The rule was a provision of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that was introduced by President Barack Obama‘s administration in 2015.

It’s an effort by the federal government to reverse some of the damage it did when it prevented many people of color from accessing low-cost mortgages and barred them from buying and living in predominantly white communities through redlining and segregation.

The plan would require participants to submit their plans to HUD every five years as well as progress evaluations.

“They’re trying to require the recipients of these HUD grants to be explicit about what they’re doing to not just combat active discrimination, but to promote greater access to groups who have been historically excluded from buying and renting access,” says Evan McKenzie, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “What they’re going to do is shift the resources to the people who need it more.”

But it’s unclear if the rule will have any teeth, says McKenzie. That will depend on how communities are held accountable.

“People just learn how to write the correct words in the grant applications,” he says. “It requires follow-up and implementation.”

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