This is a brief summary of the regulation taken from the Federal Register:
This proposed rule would amend HUD regulations in 24 CFR part 5 that contain general HUD program requirements, and specifically 24 CFR part 5, subpart A, which contains generally applicable definitions and federal requirements that are applicable to all or almost all HUD programs. This rule proposes to add new §§ 5.150-5.180 under the undesignated heading of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” These new sections will primarily provide the regulations that will govern the affirmatively furthering fair housing planning process by states, local governments, and PHAs, but reserves additional sections in subpart A for HUD to continue to provide regulations that will assist all HUD program participants in more effectively affirmatively furthering fair housing.
Purpose of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulations (§ 5.150). New § 5.150 states that the purpose of HUD’s new regulations (AFFH regulations) is to provide more effective means of meeting the statutory obligation imposed on HUD program participants to affirmatively further fair housing. The new AFFH regulations are intended to add clarity to the goals that are at the heart of affirmatively furthering fair housing, to provide for guidance and interaction between HUD and program participants and, to the extent appropriate, inform other housing and urban development programs that are subject to AFFH requirements. The new regulations envision a process that is structurally incorporated into the consolidated plan and the PHA planning process, building upon what is already familiar to HUD program participants and thus reducing burden and connecting disparate planning processes.
So what exactly does this mean? Americans for limited government puts it in real terms:
Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today urged the Senate to support an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), S.3897, to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill that will prohibit implementation of the HUD regulation “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) that conditions $3 billion of yearly community development block grants on 1,200 recipient cities and counties rezoning neighborhoods along income and racial guidelines:
“There is zero excuse for allowing the federal government to dictate local zoning policy via community development block grants to impose racial and income zoning quotas on cities and counties. Zoning ordinances only determine what can be built where, not who lives there. People can move wherever they want, and rent or buy. Real housing discrimination, that is, denying housing on the basis of race, has been illegal for decades. It is not at all what is at issue in the upcoming vote in the Senate.
“The Lee amendment simply says that community development block grants, which have been around for more than 40 years, can be spent by local communities as they see fit to put affordable housing where they think it makes sense. That’s the way these block grants have always been allocated, but suddenly, the Obama Administration found some new power for HUD to condition the community development block grants based on fulfilling the department’s utopian vision of racial and income equality.
“Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is not about expanding the poor’s access to housing, it’s about expanding the federal government’s reach into local municipalities. Republican or Democrat, defunding this overreach should be an easy vote for every senator.”
One example of how the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation actually works is cited at a website called Obamazone.org:
In Westchester County, N.Y., a trial run for the rule has already occurred where HUD has attempted to rezone six cities, 19 towns and 20 villages as a condition for receiving $5 million of grants. Rather than submit to federal rule, County Executive Rob Astorino simply rejected the money from 2012, and Westchester lost out on some $7 million of grants from 2011 for the same reason. Watch the video of Astorino explaining how the HUD regulation will affect your neighborhood.
This is just the beginning, and left unchecked, the impact of this regulation will be felt nationwide. In 2012, HUD dispersed about $3.8 billion of these grants to almost 1,200 municipalities. By virtue of accepting the grants, under the rule, each of these 1,200 municipalities will be forced to comply with HUD’s racial zoning edicts.
The House of Representatives has already acted, defunding implementation of the regulation two years in a row. Now, it is the Senate’s turn to act. Senator Mike Lee has introduced an amendment to the Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill defunding implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule.
Zoning laws are done by local governments who understand the area they are dealing with–the infrastructure, the land, and the resources. The federal government has no business overriding local government laws and decisions.