On the night of June 30, President Trump tweeted that he could cancel the rule of fair living.
At the request of many great Americans who live in the suburbs and others, I am studying the AFFH Housing Ordinance, which has devastating effects on these once flourishing suburban areas. Corrupt Joe Biden wants to make her MUCH BAD. Not fair to homeowners, I can END!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
The tweet probably refers to the 2015 regulation and not to the rollback proposed by the Trump administration, which discourages the measure by completely omitting the race.
The AFFH was part of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. While it was enacted 52 years ago, it was difficult to interpret or enforce until the Obama administration created the 2015 regulation. This legislation added local accountability steps to resolve disparate housing patterns and overcome past redlining practices.
However, the President cannot unilaterally remove or rewrite the AFFH regulation. According to Solomon Greene, senior fellow at the Urban Institute and former HUD senior consultant who worked on the 2015 version of the AFFH rule, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development should go through and pass the political decision-making process.
"The agency cannot remove the AFFH requirement, the president cannot remove the AFFH requirement. It is in law," Greene said in an interview. "One of the criticisms raised against the tweet was that it didn't sound like (Trump) realized that his own agency had rewritten this rule. There are big problems with the rewrite proposed by HUD. The problem is that it simply erases race and race ignores all signs of racist poverty and discrimination in the housing markets. "
Since taking office, President Trump has declared the rule "too strict" and postponed it. Many expect Joe Biden, the leader of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, to revive the version of the Obama era if he wins the election.
"Abolishing the rule would completely remove an incentive for government and local agencies to receive federal funding from HUD to promote fair housing practices," said David Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference, in an interview.
Proponents of fair living evoked the racist overtones they saw in the President's tweet.
"Americans are on the streets protesting the brutality of the police and what it represents: systemic racism, profound inequality, and the brutality of poverty that started with slavery," said Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. "And now the president is tweeting a threat to end one of the most important parts of civil rights legislation, and one of the few tools we can use to address the horrors and massive injustices of past, legalized discrimination and segregation of homes. Trump's threat is a dog whistle to people who want segregation and racial injustices to go on forever. "
Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, described the tweet as appalling. She said, "Because of the segregation in residential areas and the structural inequality in which you live, everything affects you – your chances of graduating from college or going to college, your chances of arrest, your wealth, your credit rating, your income "Your chances of becoming a homeowner and even how long you will live. Because of ongoing residential segregation and structural inequality, your zip code is a better determinant of your health than your genetic code."
The substance of the tweet, which suggests that the implementation of fair living conditions devastates the suburbs, is fundamentally wrong, said Greene. This feeling is not supported by evidence or experience. In fact, studies have unmasked and conclusively shown that different areas benefit everyone who lives in them.
"At the neighborhood level, children who study in different schools do better," said Greene. "We also did regional research. If they are racial, it damages the regional economy and prevents upward mobility, even for white children. Integration and diversity lead to better results across the board."
Bonnie Sinnock contributed to this story.