New HUD Rule Seeks to Drive Neighborhood Diversity

Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013 10:03 PM

By Todd Beamon

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development is imposing a new rule that would allow the government to track diversity in neighborhoods across the country and then push policies to change those it deems discriminatory.

The policy, called "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing," would require the agency to gather data on segregation and discrimination in every neighborhood and try to remedy it, Fox News reports.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan introduced the proposed federal rule at the NAACP convention in Orlando last month.

"Unfortunately, in too many of our hardest-hit communities, no matter how hard a child or her parents work, the life chances of that child, even her lifespan, is determined by the ZIP code she grows up in," Donovan told the group. "This is simply wrong.”

Some municipal officials fear the rule may create more problems and lawsuits in towns where where fair-housing mandates have been protested as burdensome, especially where there are few vacant lots left for development, Fox reported.

Data from the discrimination database would be used along with zoning laws, housing-finance policy, infrastructure planning, and transportation to alleviate alleged discrimination and segregation, according to Fox.

The proposed rule lacks specifics, however, although it has been published in the Federal Register and is undergoing a 60-day comment period.

The rule "does not prescribe or enforce specific" policies, the Federal Register entry says.

But Ed Pinto of the American Enterprise Institute told Fox that the rule smacked of social engineering.

"This is just the latest of a series of attempts by HUD to social engineer the American people," he said. "It started with public housing and urban renewal, which failed spectacularly back in the '50s and '60s.

"They tried it again in the '90s, when they wanted to transform house finance, do away with down payments, and the result was millions of foreclosures and financial collapse," Pinto told Fox.

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