A recent opinion article in The Wall Street Journal, “Obama Wants to Pick the Clintons’ Neighbors,” examined a new HUD initiative to effectively manufacture residential diversity in communities across the nation. The regulations mandate that roughly 1,250 affluent communities around the nation build new affordable housing that specifically targets minorities. Municipalities that buck the requirement will put federal grant money at risk.
After considering the Administration’s goal as well as its previous attempts to shoehorn minorities into largely homogenous communities in which they otherwise could not afford to live, the author comes to this conclusion:
“Seemingly incapable of learning from its blunders, HUD continues to try to engineer residential integration-even though public attitudes have evolved and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made housing discrimination illegal and Americans have shown themselves happy to decide where they’d like to live.”
This take on HUD’s latest diversity initiative prompted NMHC Chairman and Avanath Capital Management CEO Daryl Carter to submit an open letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal in support of the author’s views. As an African-American and owner and manager of affordable housing communities, he argued that such mandates are not only misguided but ultimately ineffective in solving affordable housing challenges.
More specifically, Carter made the case that the policy overlooks the need for affordable housing to be located close to job centers, ignores the cultural fabric of many existing communities and is too focused on communities that can only marginally move the needle on addressing affordable housing needs.
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