Mayors Balk At HUD’s Housing Regulations

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed racial regulations are causing angst among American mayors. It seems the folks at HUD who wrote the rules can’t tell the difference between people choosing to live in areas where they feel they fit in and institutionalized segregation.

The 1968 Fair Housing Act prohibits racial bias in the sale, rental and financing of housing. HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which enforces the civil rights law, appears to be expanding it to include policing neighborhoods for racial diversity.

The agency has proposed to add a 33-page rule titled “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” which would give it a blunt instrument for social change in cities it identifies as “segregated.” Metropolitan areas that show the worst segregation — such as Dallas; Los Angeles; Chicago; Cleveland; Houston; Atlanta; Memphis; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Indianapolis; and Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio — will be aggressively “targeted” for enforcement action.

Specifically, it blames “exclusionary zoning,” which it defines as any local zoning code that limits development of affordable housing. The proposal says such laws erect geographic barriers to success for urban minorities.

But critics claim HUD fails to recognize people may choose to live in a homogeneous community without any action or intent to exclude others. In comments submitted to HUD, groups representing cities and counties argue that racial clustering often occurs naturally, such as in Los Angeles and other cities with majority-minority populations.

Read the whole thing, the article also details what the federal government has been doing to Westchester County in New York. The Obama administration still hasn’t released Hurricane Sandy funding to the municipality because they aren’t going along with the administration’s bullying.