12 Apr HUD Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing updates 4.12.2016
One challenge local public officials and their advising attorneys face is deciphering the effects of the expanding influence of federal agencies on your community.
For example: The complexities of meeting revised requirements for grant applications can be so consuming, it is easy to overlook the larger question of should we even take the money. In this update, we will see examples of HUD’s reach.
The Health-Housing Nexus
Before the Affordable Care Act was even passed, opponents claimed the law would hand the government control over every aspect of our society. HUD is proving part of that prediction true.
Recently the agency gathered studies showing the ACA has provided new opportunities to combine housing and health funds to test new coordinated models of care.
One study argues that lower housing cost burdens give low-income families more money to spend on healthier foods. In referencing affordable housing, the agency also found:
“A lack of privacy and control, noise, overstimulation, and other conditions related to overcrowding can cause psychological distress.”
HUD observed that accessibility to better neighborhoods reduces exposure to environmental toxins and stressors such as crime. The report concludes:
“Investment in stable, affordable, healthy housing in safe neighborhoods with access to healthcare services and a variety of amenities promises improved health for residents of all types.”
Behaviorally Informed Messaging for Federal Student Aid
HUD is concerned because children in low-income families do not complete thefree student aid application for higher education. Their solution is to design behaviorally informed messaging to discover which message will increase the percentage of completed applications.
HUD is working with the Department of Education and White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team to identify the behaviorally informed messaging.
HUD explains why they are getting involved in education…
“HUD is increasingly thinking about housing as a platform to better serve the people we house. HUD programs house a lot of kids and promoting education is a big priority for… HUD in general.”
There is Much More
These are only two of dozens of HUD initiatives that are consuming the choices and decisions normally left to families and local communities. Under the heading of Expanding the Blueprint for Prosperity, HUD now wants to manage children’s future earnings and “adult outcomes.”
HUD defines its new rule, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing as a regulatory “lever” to address “the unevenness of opportunity across communities.” Their new Prosperity Playbook, in partnership with the American Planning Association, expands “the blueprint of innovation around what federal, state, and local partners should do to support economic mobility; expand housing affordability; and increase access to opportunity-rich neighborhoods, education, and jobs.”
Clearly HUD has far exceeded it’s mandate to provide money to communities for affordable housing as a means to reduce discrimination. There is little evidence that any of these programs will attain the stated outcomes. Will lower mortgage payments really cause families to buy more broccoli and avoid ‘high fructose corn syrup’? Data show that families moving out of high crime areasoften take the crime with them, and there is no guarantee that “nudging” children to take on ever larger school loans by making forms easier to complete results in better adult outcomes.
These programs appear to be typical bureaucratic busywork requiring more tax dollars and more bureaucrats.
Perhaps most damning is the failure of HUD to inform recipients of the massive loss of autonomy by local communities and by the families that live in them when accepting one of their grants.
Today, the question for public officials may not be “how” to complete the grant application, but rather, is it time to stop accepting government money altogether?
In the name of reducing housing discrimination, HUD has greatly expanded its mandate to cover social issues, zoning laws and land use. Their latest rule, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, already has a history of using the force of compliance reviews and legal threats to overturn voters’ decisions; control local zoning and land use, and coerce communities to join regions.
Our new eBook describes the history of our nation’s cultural attacks on private property. See how federal agencies usurp local choices, and how communities can protect themselves from federal encroachment. Contains over 80 sources.
Property Value Defense helps your community understand the severe consequences accompanying AFFH. If you know of any community members, officials or municipal attorneys interested in joining our group, please feel free to forward this update.)
John Anthony, Founder
Property Value Defense
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