AFFH: The Regulation that Ignores Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
HUD: Decades of Trying to Solve The Wrong Problem at HUD
That regulation ignores Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which states that “desegregation” doesn’t mean the elimination of “racial imbalance.”
The Wall Street Journal
Letters to the Editor, September 19, 2015
Vann Ellison and James Pettit rightly criticize the federal government’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” regulation for meddling in local land-use decisions. (“At 50, This Housing Policy Needs a Big Renovation,” op-ed, Sept. 9).
That regulation wrongly treats communities as segregated merely because they lack racially “balanced living patterns,” or have a “high concentration of persons of a particular race” or “religion.” That ignores Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which states that desegregation doesn’t mean the elimination of “racial imbalance.” It also ignores the Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (2013), which stated that “racial balancing,” far from advancing civil rights, is a “patently unconstitutional” justification for race-conscious policies. The fact that a neighborhood has a “high concentration” of Orthodox Jews or immigrants reflects their voluntary choices, not segregation.
Communities should not have to spend taxpayer money trying to meet arbitrary notions of racial “balance.”
President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty may yet prove more destructive than his war in Vietnam. Messrs. Ellison and Pettit appropriately question HUD’s current focus on global warming and local social engineering. But do they really believe that “a return to the core mission of urban renewal, fighting poverty and homelessness” will provide cause for celebration 50 years hence?
HUD was created on the false premise that the urban riots of the early 1960s reflected poor quality housing, curable with more public housing projects, originally a 1930s “jobs” program. Turning the I.M. Pei-designed HUD building into condominiums would be cause for celebration.
La Jolla, Calif.
Mr. Villani is a former deputy assistant secretary and chief economist for HUD.