HUD Rewrites the Map, Makes Dubuque, Iowa Part of Chicago

Dubuque, Iowa AP PhotoThe Telegraph Herald, Jeremy Portje
AP/Telegraph Herald, Jeremy Portje

For those provincials out there, Dubuque, Iowa is usually thought of as, well, a city in Iowa. But in his new effort to nationalize the states, Obama has essentially reassigned the venerable Hawkeye State city to Chicago.

Confused? Well, it all presages Obama’s new “fair housing” scheme in which instead of creating a federal program that works on a state-by-state basis, his Department of Housing and Urban Development has redrawn the map of the United States to divide the country up into arbitrary “regions” based on a nationalist vision of what spheres of housing influences might be.

The President’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) program has proven to be yet another one of those “transformative” programs meant to break down the influence of voters and the power of the states and to grow federal power.

As Stanley Kurtz notes at National Review, the case of Dubuque is illustrative of the new federal scheme.

Kurtz reveals the results of a Public Interest Institute report that explains “how Dubuque was pressured to cede large swathes of its governing authority to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has forced the city to direct its limited low-income ‘Section 8’ housing resources, not to its own needy citizens, but to voucher-holders from Chicago.”

Instead of working within the Dubuque area to assess how section 8 housing should be handled, HUD has decided that Dubuque is now part of Chicago–which is 200 some miles away–and has forced the small corn state city to take in refugees from Chicago’s low income housing applicants.

As the study noted, HUD decided that Iowa could not handle its own housing problems locally:

HUD determined that low-income people living four hours away should be served as part of the Dubuque city expected and anticipated market segment for affordable housing, that Section 8 voucher applications must be accepted no matter where the individual is from, and that no priority could be given to local residents–most of whom were either elderly or disabled–in filling affordable housing needs.

This pitted the small Iowa city with a population of just over 58,000 against Chicago, a city of 2.719 million.

There is also a financial factor that makes this a problem for Dubuque. The small city already has a median income about $7,000 less than the average in the state, making the housing situation harder for low income and elderly citizens. But, the influx of Chicagoans only adds to the small city’s troubles.

Of course, all this assumed power comes from the fact that Dubuque takes federal housing money from HUD, opening itself up to federal control over how that money is spent. And all this is a perfect example of how Obama intends to reshuffle the map of the United States to grow the power of the federal government.

As the PII report warns, every state in the U.S. will be redrawn into “regions” and will be forced to “meet nationally determined standards for the management and makeup of every aspect” of life in their areas.

This means that “unelected governing boards who do not represent the voters” will be controlling how local and federal taxes are spent and how local officials handle their own problems and challenges. Needless to say, it also spells the end of private property rights in many respects.

As Kurtz warns, “Dubuque shows that, over time, Obama’s AFFH rule could spell the end of local government in America.” Some would say that is its goal.

With its conclusion, the PII study concurs:

The repercussions to private-property owners and small businesses of this federal government overreach are significant. As soon as one becomes involved with and receives any government funds to implement a project or improve one’s business or home, you will fall under the regulatory governance of HUD and the AFFH and must meet their standards. The only way for our Iowa cities and towns and our property owners and small business people to avoid being impacted in this way is to not take the money.

It isn’t just Iowa affected, of course. Obama and his statist, big government planners have targeted every city and every state in America to have home rule replaced by rule from Washington D.C

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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