President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he is reviewing former President Barack Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rules that would force suburban areas to include low income housing in every community.
“At the request of many great Americans who live in the Suburbs, and others, I am studying the AFFH housing regulation that is having a devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas. Corrupt Joe Biden wants to make them MUCH WORSE. Not fair to homeowners, I may END!” Trump tweeted on June 30:
At the request of many great Americans who live in the Suburbs, and others, I am studying the AFFH housing regulation that is having a devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas. Corrupt Joe Biden wants to make them MUCH WORSE. Not fair to homeowners, I may END!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
The AFFH rule, proposed in 2015 when he was Obama’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was met with stiff resistance the moment it was unveiled.
National Review’s Stanley Kurtz was shocked by the rule and called it “massive government overreach.” He added that it:
gives the federal government a lever to re-engineer nearly every American neighborhood — imposing a preferred racial and ethnic composition, densifying housing, transportation, and business development in suburb and city alike, and weakening or casting aside the authority of local governments over core responsibilities, from zoning to transportation to education.
Kurtz continued saying that the rule would give the federal government the power to force racial quotas on every community in America.
“AFFH obligates any local jurisdiction that receives HUD funding to conduct a detailed analysis of its housing occupancy by race, ethnicity, national origin, English proficiency, and class (among other categories),” he wrote, adding:
Grantees must identify factors (such as zoning laws, public-housing admissions criteria, and “lack of regional collaboration”) that account for any imbalance in living patterns. Localities must also list “community assets” (such as quality schools, transportation hubs, parks, and jobs) and explain any disparities in access to such assets by race, ethnicity, national origin, English proficiency, class, and more. Localities must then develop a plan to remedy these imbalances, subject to approval by HUD.
By using its power to approve banking and funding, the federal government would necessarily have the ability to tell suburban areas who will be allowed to live in their neighborhoods and what kind of homes they can build to force immigrant and low income residents into every neighborhood. In the end, the rule would destroy wealth and lower property values.
Complaints flooded the HUD public comment period when the rule was proposed.
One commenter on the HUD website had it exactly right when he called the rule “one of the most dangerous overreaches of American government power” ever conceived.
“I do not want the federal government choosing who my neighbors are going to be based on race, ethnicity, economic status, or any other criteria,” wrote another commenter, Matt Johnson. “Are we really going to allow HUD to arbitrarily dismantle local zoning laws simply because it seems like a good idea to a few bureaucrats in Washington DC?” he wrote.
However, once the rule passed, some cities began reengineering building codes to facilitate a massive influx of immigrant and low-income residences into neighborhoods. Officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, for instance, came up with the idea of eliminating “singe family” zoning rules that essentially create suburban life and making all residential zones multiple family zones to force tenement-style living on the suburbs.
Still, since Trump’s election, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) quickly began weakening Obama’s efforts to social engineer the suburbs, and HUD Secretary Ben Carson has delayed enforcement of the Obama era rules since he took control of the agency.
The rule, though, is still a standing policy, and unless it is eliminated, it will likely have to go into effect at some point. And if the Trump administration does not end the rule, a future Democrat president will implement it.
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