Obama to use housing department to diversify neighborhoods

Obama to use housing department to diversify neighborhoodsIn a move that has rankled critics who complain that smacks of social engineering, the Obama administration has announced it will be imposing a new rule that would permit the federal government to track “diversity” in the neighborhoods of America to ensure that they have the racial and other makeup that matches the demographics of the rest of the country and punish those that do not do so.

The administration’s policy is called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” and will require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to gather data on segregation and discrimination in every neighborhood and remedy it.

The rule was unveiled by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at the NAACP convention this July.

“Unfortunately, in too many of our hardest hit communities, no matter how hard a child or her parents work, the life chances of that child, even her lifespan, is determined by the zip code she grows up in. This is simply wrong,” he said.

While specifics of the rule are not yet available, the government intends to use data from the “discrimination” database to work with zoning laws, housing finance policy, infrastructure planning and transportation to force all neighborhoods to reach diversity requirements.

Under diversity policies businesses have been penalized for not having enough members of a certain minority group working for them even if no qualified minorities qualified for the position. Additionally, with the addition of sexual orientation to federal discrimination laws, neighborhoods could be forced to have a certain percentage of “gay” homeowners in the neighborhood as well as a certain percentage of black, Hispanic and other homeowners.

Critics have said the rules smack of social engineering and will result in serious problems.

“This is just the latest of a series of attempts by HUD to social engineer the American people,” Ed Pinto, of the American Enterprise Institute told Fox News. “It started with public housing and urban renewal, which failed spectacularly back in the 50’s and 60’s. They tried it again in the 90’s when they wanted to transform house finance, do away with down payments, and the result was millions of foreclosures and financial collapse.”

One of the problems that could arise is how the policy will square with current fair housing laws. Under the current law a homeowner cannot discriminate against a home buyer based on his race or other factors such as religion, sex or political affiliation. However, some have said in order to meet the diversity standards the government could force a homeowner to refuse to sell to a person from a particular race in order to ensure the house goes to a person whose race will help the neighborhood meet the diversity requirements.

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Kristin covers health, science and internet news.