Tag: HUD

Two Cheers for HUD

 

President Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a rule this past week grandly titled “Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice.” That rule undid an Obama administration rule on the same topic, called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH). In July 2015, the Obama administration adopted an aggressive position that allowed HUD to monitor state, county, and local governments that received HUD grants to see that they had undertaken exhaustive efforts to remediate a wide range of racial disparities in housing markets, thereby raising the costs that arise from accepting government grants. Under HUD’s recently revised regulations, HUD Secretary Ben Carson scaled back the regulations so they concentrated not on the overall condition of local housing markets, but on the risks that individual acts of discrimination pose to individual applicants.

At no point in that order did HUD single out suburban housing for special treatment. Nonetheless, with scant regard to the content of the revised rule, President Trump posted a celebratory tweet: “I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.” This ill-advised outburst prompted a cascade of criticism that portrayed the new HUD regulation as a backhanded effort to undo President Obama’s much-needed protections against racial bias. As one critic alleged, whereas Carson carefully cloaked these major substantive reforms in a procedural guise that stressed paperwork reduction, the new rule in reality was intended to “reduce the pressure on local governments to provide space and opportunity for Black families in affluent white neighborhoods.”

But the new HUD rule scores well on two key points. First, it is more consistent with the basic objectives of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (FHA), which aimed to prevent pernicious forms of discrimination in the housing market. Second, it avoids the highly interventionist mission creep of the Obama-era AFFH rule, which insisted that the purpose of HUD was “to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable housing for all.”

Autumn Colors: The Color of Law, an in-depth review

 

When people are free to associate as they please, we can’t be surprised if they sometimes self-segregate. People self-sort along many affinities, including ethnic affinities. This is what lawyers call de facto segregation, and it’s none of the law’s business. De jure segregation — segregation imposed by law, including segregation promoted by public policy — is, on the other hand, very much the law’s business.

In 1866, Congress passed a Civil Rights Act (the 1866 CRA) asserting the equal rights of blacks before the law, including property rights, and real-estate rights in particular. The 1866 CRA warned

City Journal contributing editor Howard Husock joins associate editor Seth Barron to discuss problems at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

With some 400,000 residents, NYCHA is the nation’s largest public housing system. In recent years, news reports have documented extensive corruption at the agency along with chronic problems at NYCHA properties, including heating outages, broken elevators, high lead-paint levels, and vermin.

Falling Through the Cracks

 

He was a Vietnam War veteran and was awarded a Purple Heart. He became friends with Emily Cornelius and her mother, Karen, five years ago. Emily was in the 8th grade at the time. Years later in April 2018, she accompanied him on an Honor Flight to Washington, DC. He was 70 years old.

Five years earlier when he met Emily, he was homeless. He passed away last Saturday, August 11 and left behind a sister and a son.


William “Mr. Willie” Dread was living in a homeless camp in Lakeland, FL called “The Chinese Jungle” when Emily discovered him. Over time she and her mother brought him food and clothing and other care packages. Eventually, she found him a place to live in Crystal Court apartments in Lakeland. Mr. Dread talked about this mother and daughter pair before he left on his Honor Flight, saying “I love them both. She [Emily] is just a great young lady.”

Carson’s HUD Decision and What I Learned When I Taught in a Welfare-to-Work Program

 

Dr. Ben Carson, as director of HUD, has proposed raising costs and imposing work requirements for people in public housing or receiving public housing money. I was a little iffy about that – I mean, who’d want to live in the projects or deal with Section 8 requirements if they didn’t have to? I grew up dirt-poor, and I was a poor single mom for over a decade after that. I know what poverty is like. I know the people who struggle at the bottom. It sucks, and having expenses raised sucks worse.

But after reading the details of Carson’s plan, I agreed enthusiastically. His ideas are perfect, and not because they are cost-saving or because they get those deadbeats going.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see FBI Director Christopher Wray conclude there was no political agenda at work in the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.  They also react to Facebook’s weak explanation for how user data ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica and Jim details how the right and left are furious with social media outlets for very different reasons.  And they shake their heads as HUD Sec. Ben Carson tells lawmakers his wife helped pick out the $31,000 dining set after he had rejected expensive furniture.

Richard Epstein looks at how both federal interference and local regulations conspire to drive up the cost of housing.

The Affordable Housing Crisis

 

Housing policy has become yet another flashpoint in these highly polarized times. Much of the controversy swirls around President Donald Trump’s nomination of Ben Carson, a distinguished neurosurgeon, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. HUD operates a wide range of subsidized federal housing programs that impassioned critics of his nomination are sure Carson will dismember. His chief vice in their eyes is his lack of direct experience working in the housing area. In a real sense this is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, these programs must be managed—and, ideally, by someone competent and somewhat knowledgeable in the field. On the other, his greatest strength is that from an outside perspective he understands that many of these programs must be cut back or shut down. There is some overstatement in the charge that HUD is a socialist program. But there is much truth to the claim that many of its programs have seriously aggravated housing difficulties around the country, especially for the most vulnerable groups.

The key challenge is to choose the correct path for housing reform. Many of Carson’s critics think the proper line is to require new developments to save a proportion of units for low-income residents, which will ensure, they claim, “that economically diverse neighborhoods and housing affordability will be preserved for generations to come.” The implicit assumption behind this position is that government agents have enough information to organize complex social institutions, when in fact they are slow to respond to changes in market conditions and are often blissfully unaware of the many different strategies that are needed in different market settings. No one wants to say that governments should not lay out street grids and organize infrastructure. But they operate at a huge comparative disadvantage when it comes to real estate development on that public grid.

Far superior is an alternative view that I have long championed. The first thing to do is to abandon the assumption that there is a systematic market failure requiring government intervention. The second is to remove all barriers to entry in the housing markets, so that supply can increase and prices can fall. These barriers are numerous, and include an endless array of fees, taxes, and permits that grant vast discretionary authority to local officials. A removal of these burdens will allow us to harness the private knowledge of developers who will seek to work in those portions of the market that hold the greatest profit opportunities.

Member Post

 

Have a couple of questions concerning the likely nomination of Dr. Carson to be Secretary of HUD. Many seem to think that he is unqualified because of such and so and that he has no experience with public housing and no government experience running a complex department. Preview Open

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HUD Makes a Further Mess Out of Housing

 

shutterstock_170154509Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released its final rule on “affirmatively furthering fair housing,” a regulation intended in part to advance HUD’s goal of making sure that government agencies that receive public funds take “meaningful actions” to eliminate “historic patterns of segregation, achieve truly balanced and integrated living patterns, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination.” As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas, the result is a mess:

The tedious Final Rule, which has been hailed as “historic and overdue,” is an intellectual shipwreck. Its empty and vacuous commands are incapable of rational implementation. Yet notwithstanding HUD’s pious denials, the department is sure to continue its history of contentious litigation brought to chastise and correct local governments whose actions have not met its standard. One inherent difficulty in both the previous and current versions of the Final Rule is that its objectives are often in deep conflict with one anther.

HUD gives backhanded recognition to this point when it notes: “The Fair Housing Act does not prohibit individuals from choosing where they wish to live, but it does prohibit policies and actions by covered entities and individuals that deny choice or access to housing or opportunity through the segregation of persons protected by the Fair Housing Act.” But it does not grasp the magnitude of this concession. It turns out, of course, that most individuals do not wish to live in communities that meet HUD’s sterile definitions of “truly balanced and integrated communities.” They often prefer to live with individuals with whom they share common values in neighborhoods that offer the social support and companionship that they so clearly want.