The Department of Housing and Urban Development is reporting that Obama is moving forward with threatened plans to force “diversity” on wealthier neighborhoods by using the federal government’s influence to build housing for lower income families.
Claiming it is “fulfilling a promise” to create “equal opportunity,” HUD insisted its upcoming program was an effort to end “deep-rooted segregation” in higher income communities.
“HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” the department said on Thursday. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.”
HUD was immediately accused of trying to impose a socialist “utopia” throughout America, using the force of government and taxpayer money to do so.
“American citizens and communities should be free to choose where they would like to live and not be subject to federal neighborhood engineering at the behest of an overreaching federal government,” Representative Paul Gosar (R, AZ) said upon the release of HUD’s plans.
Gosar also said that Obama “shouldn’t be holding hostage grant monies aimed at community improvement based on its unrealistic utopian ideas of what every community should resemble.”
Obama’s government, though, claims that the new policy is only meant to end “segregation” and open opportunities for lower income families to “live where they want to live.”
However, the plan will certainly have several problematic outcomes, critics note.
For one, families employing federal subsides in section 8 housing won’t be paying the property taxes that others in such communities pay meaning that they will be sending their kids to schools they didn’t help pay for. This will increase the burden on local schools and on those actual taxpayers footing the bill.
Gosar warns that the main result will be that property values will naturally fall and that means property assessments will fall with them and that taxes will have to be raised to continue paying for local schools quite despite falling housing values.
Then there is the crime.
Margery Turner, senior vice president at the left-leaning Urban Institute, insists that the new rule is a good one and says that children growing up in low income areas have less chance of succeeding in America because of crime and blighted neighborhoods.
“Segregation is clearly a problem that is blocking upward mobility for children growing up today,” she claimed.
But critics say that far from eliminating such problems, this program will merely import those same problems into the wealthier neighborhoods.
Others, such as Hans von Spakovsky, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, point out that this is just another example of the Obama administration viewing every policy through a racial prism.
Finally there is the likelihood that further control on local housing rules will take power away from local voters and their governments and will create a situation where all housing is controlled by the central government in far away Washington DC.
Regardless, on Thursday HUD Secretary Julián Castro defended the program during a congressional hearing saying that the rule isn’t just about affordable housing.
“It’s not just about affordable housing, it’s about good transit; it’s about access to good schools; it’s about all that,” Castro insisted.
Many Congresspeople were skeptical, to say the least.
Republican Mia Love, Utah’s first African American woman elected to Congress, criticized the program as one that would take power over housing out of the hands of local officials. Being a former mayor herself, Love had the experience from which to speak.
But Rep. Love also had serious reservations about the Obama administration’s idea that the federal government could bring both “diversity” and “prosperity” to communities by fussing with housing policies.
“I want to know some quick examples you have where the federal government has actually been able to diversify areas or end poverty in local areas where the local municipalities could not do that,” Love asked.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com