The Department of Housing and Urban Development plans on implementing a new rule allowing it to track diversity in neighborhoods across the country and then change policies it deems to be discriminatory. The new policy, called "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing," will require HUD to gather data on segregation and discrimination.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan revealed the rule at the NAACP convention in July.
"Unfortunately, in too many of our hardest hit communities, no matter how hard a child or her parents work, the life chances of that child, even her lifespan, is determined by the zip code she grows up in," he said. "This is simply wrong.”
A discrimination database would collect data about zoning laws, housing finance policy, infrastructure planning and transportation to alleviate alleged discrimination and segregation. Specifics about the policy are vague but it is being reported that the rule "does not prescribe or enforce specific” policies.
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The new law definitely has its critics.
"This is just the latest of a series of attempts by HUD to social engineer the American people," said Ed Pinto, of the American Enterprise Institute. "It started with public housing and urban renewal, which failed spectacularly back in the '50s and '60s. They tried it again in the '90s when they wanted to transform house finance, do away with down payments, and the result was millions of foreclosures and financial collapse.”
Representatives from Cortlandt in Westchester County, N.Y., have written letters protesting the law, Fox News reported.
"Cordlandt is mostly residential and has only a few vacant parcels that could be developed for commercial use," wrote Cortlandt town attorney Thomas Wood. "In order to stabilize the tax base amongst the most affordable in Westchester County, the Town Board needs to encourage the development of commercial property for commercial use."
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According to a HUD posting about the AFH rule, “The proposed rule encourages local governments, States and PHAs to work together on the AFH, and also facilitates regional AFHs that cover regions that need not be contiguous and may even cross state boundaries. The AFH would also reflect substantial public input through community participation and stakeholder consultation.”