Preserve Property Rights by Defunding HUD’s AFFH Rule

The pressure by property advocates from across the nation to rein in HUD’s disastrous Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule is being felt on Capitol Hill. As a result, two bills have been introduced to defund and eliminate the program.

Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has introduced H.R. 482 (24 cosponsors), called the Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017. Meanwhile, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has introduced a companion bill (S. 103; one cosponsor) in the Senate under the same name. Both bills are designed to defund and defang AFFH.

AFFH is dangerous to American property owners and to local government in our communities. In 2015, the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department began enforcing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. This was Barack Obama’s most radical assault on American private property rights and locally elected governments.

The AFFH rule obliterates personal property rights and destroys property values in whole neighborhoods. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing requires every community that applies for HUD grants to perform massive demographic analyses locally and regionally to determine if there are enough low-income and minority people living in every neighborhood (as determined by HUD). HUD agents search the records of every person in each neighborhood for income levels, race, color, religion, national origin, and much more.

If there aren’t enough of each category to satisfy HUD’s vague rules, HUD will claim that the community is “out of balance” and therefore in violation of AFFH! Next, HUD will file lawsuits against the community to impose its will. HUD is already doing this in many communities across the nation. The result is pure social engineering of neighborhoods.

As HUD demands that the “imbalance” be corrected by forcing federally subsidized housing into more affluent neighborhoods, property values plummet. Equity in those homes will be lost.

In addition, as HUD moves to enforce these badly defined rules, its agents begin to dictate to local officials how their communities will develop. Locally elected officials simply become pawns to carry out HUD rules. Home rule in America will die under AFFH.

One other dangerous effect that AFFH has on local government is the creation of regional, non-elected governments. These regions are created as HUD uses the data it has gathered on each neighborhood and then creates “geospatial” (data) maps. Once the maps are incorporated into local plans, the agency then manages enough of the community’s zoning and population distribution to merge the community into an autonomous region, to be run by an unelected oversight council.

The Gosar and Lee bills are designed to deal with all of these concerns. The proposed bills deny all funding for HUD’s geospatial mapping:

[N]o Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.

Since HUD and the Obama administration created confusing and expansive definitions of how the Fair Housing Act must be enforced, local communities have little hope of complying with or opposing HUD. Congress is about to stop that.

According to the provisions of the new bills, HUD’s exercise of tyrannical powers over local communities would be reined in by forcing federal, state, and local officials to jointly decide the best way to advance:

The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall jointly consult with State officials, local government officials, and officials of public housing agencies to develop recommendations, consistent with applicable rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States, to further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act.

The sponsors of these bills are greatly optimistic that they will pass and that President Trump will sign them into law. However, there is growing pressure from civil rights groups, developers, and their lobbyists who fully understand the dangers these bills represent to their big government agenda. It is vital that those of us opposed to AFFH and HUD overreach keep up our own pressure on Congress by calling and emailing our representatives and senators to demand they support H.R. 482 and S. 103.

Reining in HUD and defunding its AFFH rule is a vital first step. Once achieved, the next move is to organize a grassroots movement to demand that HUD be completely abolished in order to end its tyrannical threat to our neighborhoods.

Phone your U.S. representative (202-225-3121) and senators (202-224-3121) in support of defunding and eliminating the AFFH rule with H.R. 482 and S. 103.

Please also email your representative and senators with the same message.

Thanks.

Your Friends at The John Birch Society