Obama’s last act is to force suburbs to be less white and less wealthy
President Barack Obama and Housing Secretary Julian Castro Photo: AP;
Gregory P. Mango
Hillary’s rumored running mate, Housing Secretary Julian Castro, is cooking
up a scheme to reallocate funding for Section 8 housing to punish suburbs
for being too white and too wealthy.
The scheme involves super-sizing vouchers to help urban poor afford higher
rents in pricey areas, such as Westchester County, while assigning them
government real-estate agents called “mobility counselors” to secure
housing in the exurbs.
Castro plans to launch the Section 8 reboot this fall, even though a similar
program tested a few years ago in Dallas has been blamed for shifting
violent crime to affluent neighborhoods.
It’s all part of a grand scheme to forcibly desegregate inner cities and
integrate the outer suburbs.
Anticipating NIMBY resistance, Castro last month threatened to sue suburban
landlords for discrimination if they refuse even Section 8 tenants with
criminal records. And last year, he implemented a powerful new regulation —
“Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” — that pressures all suburban
counties taking federal grant money to change local zoning laws to build
more low-income housing (landlords of such properties are required to accept
Section 8 vouchers).
Castro is expected to finalize the new regulation, known as “Small-Area
Fair Market Rents” (SAFMR), this October, in the last days of the Obama
It will set voucher rent limits by ZIP code rather than metro area, the
current formula, which makes payments relatively small. For example, the
fair market rent for a one-bedroom in New York City is about $1,250, which
wouldn’t cover rentals in leafy areas of Westchester County, such as
Mamaroneck, where Castro and his social engineers seek to aggressively
resettle Section 8 tenants.
[The Section 8 reboot] is all part of a grand scheme to forcibly desegregate
inner cities and integrate the outer suburbs.
In expensive ZIP codes, Castro’s plan — which requires no congressional
approval — would more than double the standard subsidy, while also covering
utilities. At the same time, he intends to reduce subsidies for those who
choose to stay in housing in poor urban areas, such as Brooklyn. So Section
8 tenants won’t just be pulled to the suburbs, they’ll be pushed there.
“We want to use our housing-choice vouchers to ensure that we don’t have a
concentration of poverty and the aggregation of racial minorities in one
part of town, the poor part of town,” the HUD chief said recently, adding
that he’s trying to undo the “result of discriminatory policies and
practices in the past, and sometimes even now.”
A draft of the new HUD rule anticipates more than 350,000 Section 8 voucher
holders will initially be resettled under the SAFMR program. Under Obama,
the total number of voucher households has grown to more than 2.2 million.
The document argues that larger vouchers will allow poor urban families to
“move into areas that potentially have better access to jobs,
transportation, services and educational opportunities.” In other words,
offering them more money to move to more expensive neighborhoods will
improve their situation.
But HUD’s own studies show the theory doesn’t match reality.
Bill Clinton in 1994Photo: Getty Images
President Bill Clinton started a similar program in 1994 called “Moving to
Opportunity Initiative,” which moved thousands of mostly African-American
families from government projects to higher quality homes in safer and less
racially segregated neighborhoods in several counties across the country.
The 15-year experiment bombed.
A 2011 study sponsored by HUD found that adults using more generous Section
8 vouchers did not get better jobs or get off welfare. In fact, more went on
food stamps. And their children did not do better in their new schools.
Worse, crime simply followed them to their safer neighborhoods, ruining the
quality of life for existing residents.
“Males…were arrested more often than those in the control group, primarily
for property crimes,” the study found.
Dubuque, Iowa, for example, received an influx of voucher holders from
projects in Chicago — and it’s had a problem with crime ever since. A
recent study linked Dubuque’s crime wave directly to Section 8 housing.
Of course, even when reality mugs leftists, they never scrap their social
theories. They just double down.
The problem, they rationalized, was that the relocation wasn’t aggressive
enough. They concluded they could get the desired results if they placed
urban poor in even more affluent areas.
HUD recently tested this new theory in Dallas with disastrous results.
Starting in 2012, the agency sweetened Section 8 voucher payments, and
pointed inner-city recipients to the far-flung counties surrounding Dallas.
As government-subsidized rentals spread in all areas of the Metroplex (163
ZIP codes vs. 129 ZIP codes), so did crime.
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development used Dallas as a
test — and the city is now experiencing much more violence.Photo: Getty
Now Dallas has one of the highest murder rates in the nation, and recently
had to call in state troopers to help police control it. For the first time,
violent crime has shifted to the tony bedroom communities north of the city
. Three suburbs that have seen the most Section 8 transfers — Frisco, Plano
and McKinney — have suffered unprecedented spikes in rapes, assaults and
break-ins, including home invasions.
Although HUD’s “demonstration project” may have improved the lives of
some who moved, it’s ended up harming the lives of many of their new
neighbors. And now Castro wants to roll it out nationwide. Soon he will give
Section 8 recipients money to afford rent wherever they choose — and if
they don’t want to move, he’ll make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Ironically, Hillary’s own hometown of Chappaqua is fighting Section 8
housing because of links to drugs and crime and other problems.
This is a big policy shift that will have broad implications, affecting
everything from crime to property values; and it could even impact the
presidential election, especially if Castro joins Hillary on the Democratic
Paul Sperry is author of “The Great American Bank Robbery,” which exposes
the racial politics behind the home mortgage crisis.