President Barack Obama’s administration is gearing up to push more urban poor out the cities and into middle-class suburbs.
As reported by the New York Post, Obama’s Housing Secretary Julian Castro is looking to create a new program that will “reallocate funding for Section 8 housing to punish suburbs for being too white and too wealthy.”
Castro’s plan is to “super-size” the federal Section 8 housing vouchers that provide rental funding for low-income people. The increased vouchers are intended to help poor people move out from increasingly expensive urban districts to the suburban areas that are currently middle and upper middle class.
The federal plan even calls for “mobility counselors” to help and encourage welfare recipients to move from gentrifying inner city areas out to the far-flung low-density suburbs, where thinner public-transport networks will make it more difficult for poor people to reach jobs, schools and government services.
That’s all good for the cities’ managers, city property owners and for millennial college-graduates, because it helps local developers to gentrify “urban blight” for urban professionals.
Castro plans to rush this program out just ahead of Obama’s departure, even though a pilot program in Dallas has been fingered for bringing crime out into the suburbs.
The Housing Secretary already set the table for the program by threatening to sue landlords who might try to deny housing applicants based on their criminal records. In April, Castro and Obama’s administration claimed it is “racist” to reject rental applicants who have criminal records and also threatened lawsuits against building owners and management companies.
The plan is also in keeping with “Fair Housing” rules that are essentially twisting geographic lines in order to place rural or suburban areas into the same zone as inner cities. For example, Dubuque, Iowa, was placed in the same housing zone as Chicago, Illinois. The redefined regions helps the administration to shift low income, welfare recipients from the Windy City to rural areas in Iowa.
As Stanley Kurtz of the National Review noted early this year, the plan forced the City of Dubuque to “cede large swathes of its governing authority” to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and in turn that 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.”
This year the Castro, the HUD chief, admitted his newest plan is to spread low-income people into middle-class neighborhoods.
“We want to use our housing-choice vouchers to ensure that we don’t have a concentration of poverty and the aggregation of racial minorities in one part of town, the poor part of town,” Castro said of the plan.
But as Paul Sperry reported, HUD has already tried this policy with expected and disastrous results. In Texas, a similar scheme caused crime rates to soar in the once-tranquil suburbs of Dallas after 2011. HUD had shifted Section 8 housing vouchers to the Dallas suburbs, sending new people and new crime to the suburbs.
“Now Dallas has one of the highest murder rates in the nation, and recently had to call in state troopers to help police control it,” Sperry wrote. “For the first time, violent crime has shifted to the tony bedroom communities north of the city. Three suburbs that have seen the most Section 8 transfers — Frisco, Plano and McKinney — have suffered unprecedented spikes in rapes, assaults and break-ins, including home invasions.”
In the 1990s, Section 8 vouchers sent poor African-Americans out of St. Louis and into the suburb of Ferguson, Mo. In August 2014, Ferguson was hit by a wave of rioting, looting and arson, a media frenzy — and then a partial federal-takeover of the local government — after a minor criminal was killed in a fight with a policeman. According to the local newspaper,
The data on Section 8 also show that the subsidies have tended to cluster in lower-income areas. Many inner-ring North County suburbs are disproportionately absorbing the tenants who have flocked to aging apartment complexes.
That includes Ferguson. A census tract that consists of a portion of Oakmont Townhomes and Northwinds Apartments and stretches eastward into unincorporated St. Louis County had more Section 8 renters in 2013 than any tract in the entire state, according to HUD estimates.
In that area, nearly 20 percent of the 5,000 people who lived there were in Section 8 units. More than half of those households had median incomes of less than $10,000; 57 percent were headed by one parent; and 99 percent were African-American.
This is the plan Obama now wants to inflict upon the entire country.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org