14 Aug 2018 HUD Ditches Diversity Goals, Black Activists Applaud
Cost and Availability of Public Housing Should Be Prioritized Over Racial Demographics, Say Project 21 Leaders
Washington D.C. – New plans by the Trump Administration to refocus public housing policy on supply and affordability rather than diversity are being applauded by members of the Project 21 black leadership network. This policy change rescinds an Obama-era mandate that is “actually suffocating investment in some of our most distressed neighborhoods,” according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson.
“Public housing isn’t supposed to be permanent housing,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II, who is also an Anglican bishop. “Government should prioritize availability and affordability over location — especially when using taxpayer money. The goal must be to provide a safety net and a hand-up, not create a perverse diversity that values holding people together over allowing them all to rise.”
HUD is now accepting public comments on amendments to the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule that was instituted in 2015 to further the purposes of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The proposed amendments, rather than forcing local governments to prove that their housing policies do not segregate, allow for more local control with an aim of increasing housing choice through increased supply. The new policy seeks to focus on “accomplishing positive results, rather than on analysis.” Secretary Carson noted that the “new, fairer rule” HUD is proposing will replace one that “often dictated unworkable requirements and actually impeded the development and rehabilitation of affordable housing.”
“Common-sense housing reform is long overdue. Public housing assistance should be primarily about assisting people in the most timely and cost-effective method,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law and senior counsel to congressional leadership. “Ending social engineering experiments and so-called diversity goals will allow HUD to refocus its efforts on housing and free up resources to aid more Americans.”
Earlier this year, Cooper, Nedd and other members of Project 21 met with Secretary Carson and other high-level HUD staff to discuss welfare reform and Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America,” a 57-point plan for removing barriers blocking blacks from empowerment and ensuring they have a chance to attain the American Dream.
“Secretary Carson is doing the hard work at HUD that should have been done decades ago,” Nedd noted after that meeting. “He has been soundly criticized, but the results are speaking for themselves. Positive changes are occurring at HUD because his vision, backed by President Trump, is to move HUD’s focus from buildings to people.”
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