HUD Will Try To Desegregate Wealthy Neighborhoods

Pruitt Igoe Demo

Pruitt-Igoe “Affordable Housing” in St. Louis.  Built 1954-56.  Demolished 1972-76.

The next step in the Obama Administration’s bid to “fundamentally transform” the United States may well be the the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new rule that will use grant money to build cheaper, “affordable” housing in affluent areas applicable in roughly 1,250 neighborhoods most likely negating local zoning laws, and potentially diluting conservative voting blocks.

The regulations would use grant money as an incentive for communities to build affordable housing in more affluent areas while also taking steps to upgrade poorer areas with better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as part of a gentrification of those communities.

“HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a HUD spokeswoman said. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.”

Conservatives in Congress, of course, are not sold on this idea and some are calling it “unrealistic utopia.”  The criticism ranges from outright scoffing to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), arguing that the administration “shouldn’t be holding hostage grant monies aimed at community improvement based on its unrealistic utopian ideas of what every community should resemble.”  These men and women are not amused with the idea of homogenization.  “American citizens and communities should be free to choose where they would like to live and not be subject to federal neighborhood engineering at the behest of an overreaching federal government,” said Gosar, who is leading an effort in the House to block the regulations.

While it is true that wealthier neighborhoods and parts of town have more competent schools, better roads, cleaner streets, etc., it is because these people went to those places to be able to have that.  They have invested in it and thus have an interest in maintaining it.  People given such things for free don’t, normally.  The more affluent among us can afford to pick up and move – and that is exactly what is going to happen if the Obama Administration’s HUD goes through with these grants to build “affordable” housing in areas deemed wealthy and “too white.”  The people who made the communities comfortably livable are going to leave.

Lest the Obama Administration really gets a big head about this, such a move has been tried before.  In the late 1960s fairly white neighborhoods were integrated and once they were uncomfortable, those that could left.  We now call it “white flight” and what resulted was formerly great places to live suddenly weren’t, property values dropped as the housing market was flooded with available properties when those with the means left the newly integrated areas.  This writer lives in a neighborhood that was hit hard the last time this happened.  We recovered.  Not everyone else has.

HUD says it is obligated to take the action under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited direct and intentional housing discrimination, such as a real estate agent not showing a home in a wealthy neighborhood to a black family or a bank not providing a loan based on someone’s race.

The agency is also looking to root out more subtle forms of discrimination that take shape in local government policies that unintentionally harm minority communities, known as “disparate impact.”

“This rule is not about forcing anyone to live anywhere they don’t want to,” said Margery Turner, senior vice president at the left-leaning Urban Institute. “It’s really about addressing long-standing practices that prevent people from living where they want to.”

“In our country, decades of public policies and institutional practices have built deeply segregated and unequal neighborhoods,” Turner said.

I’d like to live in a mansion in St. Louis’ Central West End, but that isn’t going to happen.  No real estate agent is going to show such a property to me because I cannot afford it, no matter the Celtic skin or not.  This move by Obama’s HUD is just another attempt at social engineering and a step toward making the United States a socialist country where everyone is the same.  Sad thing is that the social engineers in American government do not realize that the more this is tried without blacks earning their way into affluence the more white flight is going to happen.

This writer lives on a beautiful street built in the early 20th century.  We have always had black families on the block – all of whom were professionals in their fields and great neighbors who kept up their properties, and did not have loud parties into the middle of the night.  Adjacent blocks were not so lucky.  The families that owned houses in this neighborhood in the 1970s who were overextended, both black and white, are gone now that the property values have increased and taxes have gone up.  These are the things that are not considered when the social engineers want to take what others have earned.

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.