08 Jan This Stops HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
Step one –
There are anti-AFFH bills in the house and senate we must support.
I. ACTION – CALL CONTACTS
Congressman Paul Gosar sponsored, H.R. 1995: Local Zoning and Property Rights Protection Act of 2015. This bill reverses HUD’s AFFH. Please call your Congressional representative and ask them to support H.R. 1995.
Senator Mike Lee has sponsored S.1909: Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2015. Likewise, this Senate bill would stop HUD’s overreach. Please call your Senators and tell them to support S.1909.
My good friend Tom DeWeese has spearheaded a petition drive and I urge you to add your name to his list.
Caution* This is only the first step. Your land rights and home rule are too valuable to place all of your trust in the same government that is taking them. It is vital to support these bills, and even more important to take the next steps.
Step two –
HUD and the federal government have screwed up big time with AFFH. If you read the linked documents below, you will realize AFFH is simply a mechanism to force your community into a massive region run by un-elected councils.
When you expose AFFH, you automatically expose why community members, liberal and conservative, do not want to participate in a region.
Even if Congress stops AFFH, there is no guarantee their bill will impede the advance of regionalism. We must stop both.
II. ACTION – SHOW VIDEO
First, familiarize yourself with the linked video, “AFFH in Five Minutes.” It contains all of the factual information you need to wake up local officials.
Play it over and over until you see the bullet points that will rock your officials. (EX. HUD mandates that you invite the same people who are most likely to sue your community for non-compliance to attend the meetings where you outline potential areas of discrimination. In other words, you are building a prosecutor’s case for a lawsuit against you and inviting the potential plaintiffs to participate. That is how HUD gets the control.) There are more points in the video.
Then schedule a meeting and show “AFFH in Five Minutes” to your local public officials. Work with the officials you know beforehand to gain entry and support. Introduce yourself to the local attorney.
At the meeting, allow time for Q&A.
Step three –
Following the meeting, build a working relationship with your county attorney. Local officials rely on legal expertise to make decisions. It is one thing for a community member or even a handful of officials to explain AFFH. But, when your county attorney declares, “AFFH sets you up for litigation” officials wake up fast. THEY DO THE WORK FOR YOU!
This is what I mean when I say “HUD grants are toxic.” You see, IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW MUCH GRANT MONEY HUD DANGLES IN FRONT OF YOUR COMMUNITY. A single lawsuit can eat up every bit of the grant check and force communities into debt for years paying off the litigation costs. (Westchester County New York had to raise property taxes to cover $30 million in trial related costs when they fought an AFFH ruling!)
This technique works because HUD has made grant money poisonous!
III. ACTION – SHARE DOCUMENTS
Share the information in the SFL Attorney’s Packet below. Schedule an appointment to meet with your county attorney and select officials who can report back to the full board of supervisors. It is helpful to have one of your public officials set the meeting and accompany you. Work together to spearhead teams to stop the grant money and the regional takeover.
You can download the following documents or share the links with your county attorney.
SFL Attorney’s Document Packet:
- AFFH Final Rule This is HUD’s final rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.
- HUD Sets Stage for FCA Claims Law 360 This brief article emphasizes HUD’s intention to use the Fair Claims Act to sue for on-compliance. It appeals to the legal profession.
- Legal analysis of AFFH This legal summary is written by Dane & Colfax, one of the nation’s most prestigious civil rights law firms. While Dane & Colfax favor AFFH, the summary lets attorneys see what they will confront if they accept HUD funds, then fail to comply. This piece is powerful! ATTORNEYS LIKE IT WHEN YOU PRESENT THEM WITH OPPOSITION RESEARCH!
- Douglas County CO response to AFFH Our good friend Smith Young from CO provided this information. (Check out Young’s excellent site on AFFH.) Douglas County has analyzed HUD’s Assessment of Fair Housing. Their piece clearly shows how jurisdictions lose local control over zoning if they accept the grant money. Another strong piece for attorneys and public officials to read.
- Rockford, IL Civil Rights Compliance Review In “AFFH in Five Minutes” I mention that HUD forced a compliance review on the City of Rockford because they chose to build 49 instead of 69 housing units. (So much for local rule!) Here is that review notice and it is scary. It mentions civil rights issues, failure to comply with AFFH and holds the threat of a DOJ investigation. NO OFFICIAL CAN READ THIS AND STILL THINK HE HAS CONTROL.
- AFFH PowerPoint Overview by HUD This is HUD’s explanation of AFFH and has a lot of good detail.
- AFFH PowerPoint Overview by Oregon Fair Housing Please do not overlook this! The presentation is by the same Dane & Colfax law firm mentioned above and it is astonishing. The presenter even warn you in one slide, ignore HUD’s rules “at your own peril.”
- Westchester V HUD Final Decision This is the lawsuit that sparked the entire AFFH ruling. Remember, AFFH is an old term. Originally, HUD sued Westchester County NY, to prove discrimination. (They joined a third party False Claims Act suit against the county.) When HUD failed to prove discrimination, the courts decided there were barriers to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Hence the new rule. Lawyers appreciate the clarity of this decision. THIS LAWSUIT PROVES BEYOND DOUBT THAT AFFH IS NOT ABOUT DISCRIMINATION, BUT ABOUT FEDERAL AGENCIES TAKING CONTROL OVER LOCAL COMMUNITIES REGARDLESS OF WHAT IT TAKES.
- AFFH Assessment of Fair Housing Tool This is the document jurisdictions must complete to receive their HUD money. It mentions regions 77 times. The Douglas County response above is in reference to this document.
Add momentum to your work by creating a statewide movement. Your attorney will have the names and contacts for your state’s public attorney’s associations. Most likely that is where your attorney goes for his/her training. I suggest partnering with one or two activists from another county in your state to meet with the associations and deliver the same presentation you did at the local level.
Inevitably there would be a point where the federal government would tip its hand by going too far. We are at that point. But our opportunity will not last.
America was always meant to be run locally. Let’s show them who is in charge!