0198_Part 4_HUD/AFFH _What is learned from the Westchester County NY 10-year incident_ HUD/AFFH forced excessive additional cost and imposed unwanted actions

April 19, 2017/revised June 21, 2017
Donna Jack

A Video:_AFFH in Five Minutes
For more information about HUD/AFFH, see Blogs 195, 196, and 197
or search:  “HUD/AFFH”
Decision & History_County of Westchester v. HUD – Decided September 25, 2015   (27 pages)

What is learned from Westchester County – New York’s
10-year incident? (See Blog 196)

The Federal Government can interfere with planning and zoning

The federal government can actually interfere with our planning and zoning, even if we don’t accept HUD/AFFH HOME and CDBG money aligned with the “New HUD rules.”

This is because of the 1968 Civil Rights Act,1   which is also known as the Fair Housing Act.  That law made most discrimination in housing illegal, and gave enforcement responsibility to HUD.  (Note:  “enforcement responsibility“)

The definition of “discrimination in housing” has been expanded over the decades.  We are continually at the mercy of HUD.  HUD decides how heavily they choose to control our planning and zoning.  They will insist that they are not controlling planning and zoning (which is illegal for them to do) – but they control “indirectly” through threats of loss of funding or threats of lawsuits or threats of huge fines.

As was learned in the Westchester New York HUD/AFFH case:  those in control of HUD decide how strictly to interpret the HUD rules.  Westchester was not a county that was avoiding “fair” housing.  They were being sued for non-compliance by a legal groups that was a left leaning social justice legal group.

Westchester went to HUD when they were being sued — assuming they would find an advocate there, and some relief.  Instead, they ended up losing funding, paying huge fines, and found themselves required to build additional “affordable housing”, and forced to place the housing into areas chosen by HUD.

People can argue that they were treated that way because they were not “honestly” following agreements — the attached document is evidence that they were not guilty of negligence.  I see no justification for the intrusion of HUD into the business of deciding where and what was to be built.

Agreeing to accept HOME and CDBG money
opens up more chance to be successfully sued

Because of the data required in the application for the AFFH HOME and CDBG funding, counties give updated information to HUD beyond what is known in the census data.  Even if it were the same information, it is still dangerous, because, as was told to Westchester County:  because they had signed the documents with all the information they had submitted, it was assumed they understood and agreed to all the implications of everything in the application — and therefore were guilty if they did not conform.  If they hadn’t signed the application, they could have then presented their case of defense.

Our commissioners put us in added jeopardy

When our commissioners make agreements to receive HUD/AFFH HOME and CDBG money, they give HUD much more information than the government has – much of which can be found in the census data, but other information yearly updated.  Submitting the data implies that we understand the conditions in our county, and actually condemns us if we go to court for not “affirmatively furthering fair” housing.  HUD decides what demonstrates compliance.

The content of the yearly application opens us up to more restrictions and liability — meaning there can be more effective coercion taking away from our local voices in planning and zoning.

Not only are we opened to more litigation,
but we agree to 10, 20, 30 or 40 years of oversight of facilities we “invest” HUD money into.

At  the least, our County Commissioners should not commit us to additional oversight.

Ask our County Commissioners to vote against accepting HUD/AFFH grant money.

Over 10 years ago, Westchester County New York signed up for the grant money.  Then a community activist group challenged them.  Westchester asked HUD for help, after which their serious troubles began.

To date, our commissioners have had to adjust their local plans or behaviors to some degree, to comply with past money accepted to help them  “affirmatively furthering fair housing.”  They have to continue paying for maintenance and oversight of projects to which CDBG and HOME money has contributed.

Now HUD has developed (by experimenting with other counties and cities across the country) how to take over more control of our neighborhoods, to make suburban neighborhoods “equivalent” to urban neighborhoods – to make suburbs “fair.”

Accepting HUD/AFFH grant money means that in some instances, our commissioners may no longer work with us to protect our property rights and develop our communities the way we want them developed.  The federal government can potentially become increasingly our county commissioners.

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Ten-year ordeal for Westchester County New York,
and the implications and change in HUD/AFFH.

An excerpt from Anthony, John, Agency Tyranny:  How to STOP HUD’s Devastating Attack on Property Rights  (Sustainable Freedom Lab LLC), 2016, p. 26  .  NOTE:  You can have the 62-page book emailed to  you free at:  www.sustainablefreedomlab.org/Agency-Tyranny — You can find the following excerpts on pp. 27-28: 3

“There are three relevant points in this case.

First, the court ordered Westchester to pay $30 million from their own county budget to build 630 minority homes in order to affirmatively further fair housing.

Second, HUD failed in their attempt to prove that Westchester engaged in any discrimination.

 “As the court notes :

“‘It bears emphasizing that this decision does not mean that any of Westchester County’s municipalities violated the Fair Housing Act or engaged in discrimination on the basis of race. In short, there has been no finding, at any point, that Westchester actually engaged in housing discrimination.’

“This is a critical point. Even though the discrimination charges failed, the False Claims Act charges were spectacularly successful.

“The third is the most important lesson for other HUD entitlement communities. The attorneys used Westchester’s False Claims Act lawsuit as a test case to use in bringing other HUD recipients into compliance with AFFH.

“After the 2009 settlement, then HUD deputy secretary Ron Sims made HUD’s intentions clear :

’We’re clearly messaging other jurisdictions across the country that there has been a significant change in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and we’re going to ask them to pursue similar goals as well,’”

HUD wasted no time pursuing those “goals”.   Westchester’s False Claims Act (FCA) settlement became the foundation for a new HUD ruling, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and other cities were already in the agency’s sights.3

________________________________________

WE AREN’T SAFE FROM THE OVERREACH OF HUD
EVEN THOUGH WE AREN’T UNDER “THE NEW RULES”

Note:  Even though the new ruling that is talked about in the linked video technically doesn’t apply to us now – the precedent in the 10-year case in Westchester County New York, and other locations throughout the country, show that:

HUD/AFFH has been

     a.  holding those who accept the grant money to draconian limitless requirements under “Affirmatively Furthering” – requirements that find every county falling short,
b.  demanding grant money be returned to HUD, in some cases, if a county or city fail in any way
c.  forcing local government (county commissioners) to override their local planning and zoning at great expense — in order to comply with federal HUD planning and zoning requirements (social justice goals).
d.  pushing “social justice”  (Quote from HUD/US website — https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD : “As faith and community organizations seek to serve their members and work for social justice in their communities, the protections of the Fair Housing Act are key tools that help individuals and families find homes without fear of discrimination.”  [Note:  this includes forcing communities to place government-subsidized housing into their neighborhoods, in areas chosen by HUD.])
e.  requiring that even private donated money fall under the affirmatively furthering fair housing obligation. (part of the “new” ruling 2013) 4  

 If our Commissioners accept the grant money, they agree to open-ended requirements in the application they submit — and they turn over much of their job to the federal government. 

________________________________________

FOOTNOTES:

1 HUD History from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/about/hud_history
2   HUD Histor

3    Historical     Historical   Anthony, John, Agency Tyranny:  How to STOP HUD’s Devastating Attack on Property Rights  (Sustainable Freedom Lab LLC), 2016, p. 27-28.NOTE:  You can have the 62-page book emailed to  you free at:  www.sustainablefreedomlab.org/Agency-Tyranny
4   Anthony, John, Agency Tyranny:  How to STOP HUD’s Devastating Attack on Property Rights  (Sustainable Freedom Lab LLC), 2016, pp. 33-34  “Attorneys Allen, Relman, Dane and Colfax explain:  ‘although the grantee’s AFFH obligation arises in connection with the receipt of Federal funding, its AFFH obligation is not restricted to the design and operation of HUD-funded programs at the State or local level.  The AFFH obligation extends to all housing and housing-related activities in the grantee’s jurisdictional area whether publicly or privately funded.’ [3]
“If your community accepts a HUD grant to build affordable housing and a private citizen donates money to improve the parks in your community tat private money falls under the affirmatively furthering fair housing obligation.”  3    Historical

Also see:

Briefing on the Proposed HUD Rule Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
____________________________

Final new AFFH ruling (2015)  Article in the Gold Dust Web Solutions

“Today, [July 8, 2015] HUD Secretary Julian Castro announced the finalization of the Obama administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. A front-page article preemptively defending the move appears in today’s Washington Post. The final rule is 377 pages, vastly longer than the preliminary version of the rule promulgated in 2013.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/420896/massive-government-overreach-obamas-affh-rule-out-stanley-kurtz

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