AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing)
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If you live in the suburbs you need to know about Joe Biden’s plan for a federal takeover of local zoning laws. Biden wants to ramp up an Obama-era social engineering scheme called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, which barely got started before Donald Trump took office, vowing to stop it.
Biden’s plan is to force suburban towns with single-family homes and minimum lot sizes to build high-density affordable housing smack in the middle of their leafy neighborhoods.
Starting in 2015, Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development bureaucrats imposed a cookie-cutter requirement “balanced housing” in every suburb. “Balanced” meant affordable even for people who need federal vouchers. Towns were obligated to “do more than simply not discriminate.” As HUD’s 2013 proposal explained, towns had to make it possible for low-income minorities to choose suburban living and provide “adequate support to make their choices possible.” Towns had to scrap zoning, build bigger water and sewer lines to support high-density living, expand schools and social services and add mass transit. All pushing up local taxes. Towns that refused would lose their federal aid.
The rule was one of the worst abuses of the Obama-Biden administration — a power grab masquerading as racial justice.
Let’s be clear. Denying anyone the chance to rent or buy a home because of their race is abhorrent and illegal. It should be prosecuted whenever it happens. Truth is, Black Americans have been steadily leaving inner cities and choosing suburban lifestyles, according to Brookings Institution data. Families of every race want peace of mind letting their kids ride bikes around quiet neighborhood streets. That’s what zoning laws provide.
The real barrier to suburban living is money. Biden and the equality warriors are using accusations of racism to accomplish something different: Marxist economic integration. Their message is: You worked and saved to move to the suburbs, but you can’t have that way of life unless everyone else can, too.
Count on Trump to make Biden’s war on the suburbs a key issue in the election. In his Rose Garden press conference on Thursday, the president came out swinging, warning that Biden would “totally destroy the beautiful suburbs” by “placing far-left Washington bureaucrats in charge of local zoning.”
In response, the left and their media allies played the race card — as usual. If you buy a house in a neighborhood with quarter-acre zoning, you don’t want a high-density housing complex built at the end of the street. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have fled the city in the last four months, many of them spending their savings and taking out a mortgage to buy a home in the suburbs. The same thing is true across the nation. For these transplants, the stakes are high. The outcome of the next election will determine the value of their new house, the size of their property tax bill and the character of the town they now call home.