Not in My Suburb | Urban Living
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Not in My Suburb

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I don't think I've ever quoted our 45th president before, but I had to write down one of his tweets from a couple of weeks ago: "At the request of many great Americans who live in the suburbs, and others, I am studying the AFFH housing regulation that is having a devastating impact on these once thriving suburban areas. Corrupt Joe Biden wants to make them much worse. Not fair to homeowners, I may end!"

You may not know about AFFH, but I do, as do many of my fellow Realtors. In a nutshell, Obama and his administration made fair housing laws a priority. What had passed in 1968 as the infamous Fair Housing Act was not aggressively enforced nor was it publicly followed by most citizens. The 1968 Act prohibited discrimination in renting, selling or financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and sex (and was amended to include handicap and family status).

One of the intentions of AFFH was to encourage communities to look into how systemic racism and segregation developed in their cities and suburbs and hopefully make positive changes to have a mix of housing, such as affordable apartment units, in traditionally single-family neighborhoods. To do that, you'd have to look deeply into the zoning laws of the area that limit housing types.

Democrats are generally in favor of affordable housing whereas Republicans and Trump have encouraged the status quo to keep single-family zoning in the suburbs. "45" actually said: "Your home will go down in value and crime rates will rapidly rise." Is it just me, or is that ignorant statement promoting racism and bigotry?

Right up until "45" took office, 39 areas of the country took a good look at themselves and their housing patterns and made recommendations to Housing and Urban Development to stop discrimination, all of which came to a halt the moment Ben Carson was appointed HUD Secretary. It also seems ironic that the Trump family made mucho dinero in real estate and owning massive amounts of rental housing (especially low-income rentals) but doesn't want such housing to expand outside of inner cities. Candidate Biden wants to make sure that the Obama administration's push for fair housing in this country is brought back as a priority if Biden is elected. In 2017, the Salt Lake City Council voted unanimously to adopt Growing SLC: A Five-Year Housing Plan 2018-2022—the first such plan for the city since 2000.

The National Low-income Housing Coalition is at least following what the administration is doing by independently monitoring the federal budget process and advocating for the highest possible appropriations for HUD and USDA housing. They believe in just communities, where all community members have access to economic and education opportunities, as well as affordable housing. If you want to get woke about housing inequities around the country, follow this group at nlihc.org.