WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 7, 2017) Today I will present a series of lectures at the 2017 Washington DC “American Dream Conference” giving you a rare peek inside the world of HUD, one of our nation’s most controversial bureaucracies.
We will look at what is darkly wrong at HUD, but also new opportunities that can transform the agency into a powerhouse that helps the poor.
For 5 years I have deep-researched guidance documents, funding trails, and legal actions to learn how HUD controls grant recipients, and nudges communities to accept regional governance over their own local rule.
I continue to be shocked at the ways HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule has over-ridden voter’s decisions, forced communities to change zoning laws, and rendered local authority helpless. The examples of communities that have lost their independence will stun and hopefully forewarn you.
Two recent actions, the Supreme Court’s Disparate Impact decision followed only weeks by HUD’s release of its formal rule, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), handed HUD a legal one-two punch with the muscle to override community choices. AFFH is so potent, one prominent civil rights law firm cautioned you ignore AFFH “at your own peril.”
As a well-informed community member told me recently, “If you are going to accept a HUD grant, you better first set up a legal defense fund.” I will illustrate why he said that and how public officials and community members can insulate themselves from the toxic requirements of today’s HUD money.
One way HUD keeps your tax money flowing into their agency, is by paying for research reports they then cherry-pick to provide the foundation for programs. I will show you the reports, and one program that seems fine at first glance, but is almost guaranteed to keep the poor dependent. Today it is one of their most popular initiatives.
As you will learn, through the Civil Rights Acts, HUD has an immense ability to reduce poverty and bring hope to struggling families. Too often politics, good intentions, and social experiments stand in the way of helping the poor to stand on their own. Rather than foster independence, HUD has squandered resources by manipulating the definitions of Fair Housing and discrimination to hand themselves the means to arbitrarily integrate neighborhoods as their answer to ‘upward mobility.’
Today HUD is at the crossroads between using their resources to lead the poor out of poverty, and amassing greater centralized control in the name of desegregation. HUD needs to learn that you do not have to control people and places to help the poor rise out of poverty.
You will learn why HUD, whose new leader is clearly dedicated to draining the swamp, often fills it right back up with the same ‘command and control’ establishment thinking voices; and why an agency fighting to set a new course, struggles not to rock the boat by keeping the old one alive.
Sustainable Freedom Lab has been at the forefront of educating the American public about the dangers of accepting HUD and other federal agency grants. We were the first to expose the secretive Christmas Holiday 2012 introduction of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule that is now the basis for the expanded use of lawsuits.
Through our Property Value Defense, SFL created the first nationwide network of attorneys and public officials to help communities fight back against AFFH.
SFL is only able to continue our work because of your kind donations. Please support us by sending a contribution. My group was the first to expose:
- How a former Houston City Planning Commissioner and law partner, Neal Rackleff, was nominated to HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. If confirmed, part of Rackleff’s job would be to protect community zoning laws from the excesses of the very programs he has spent his entire career promoting.
- How HUD uses the Fair Housing Act to influence housing, education, zoning, land use, transportation, healthcare and community make-up.
- How the HUD-DOT-Dep’t. of ED partnership dictates classroom make-up and moves communities toward costly and inefficient sustainable development.
- Agency rules that require climate change planning in consolidated plans or face loss of funding.
It is time to look to the positive.
Throughout his campaign, President Trump promised voters that he would stop AFFH and help America’s urban poor. But, AFFH is alive and well, and a workable plan to help the poor out of poverty never appeared.
I recently presented the administration with a plan to end AFFH and several other rights-grabbing policies and programs. At the Conference, you will see how HUD can re-task existing departments and create a new message for low-income families. By pulling together more resources, HUD can begin lowering the poverty rate and closing the income gap.
For the first time on Monday August 7th I will present a program that removes risks for the communities that accept HUD grants and offers a real path out of poverty for the poor.
HUD has excellent new leaders in key positions. With a few changes, the agency can become the most powerful force for reducing poverty in America.