April 19, 2017/revised June 21, 2017
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.” Continue reading