Astorino as HUD Secretary Could Prove Disastrous for Fair Housing
The article reports on the speculation around potential nominees for Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.)
Among the names mentioned currently ae:
- Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown
- Pamela Patenaude, president of the J.Ronald Terwillinger Foundation for Housing America’s Families.
- Robert Astorino, the Republican county executive of Westchester County, New York.
Patenaude has more than thirty of years of experience working on housing policy. With their long-term commitment to affordable housing, both Bown and Patenaude would make good choices.
On the other hand, Robert Astornio is according to City Lab “A committed opponent of one of HUD’s signature achievements on fair housing under the Obama administration” is another name that comes up as a possible Secretary.”
“Astorino has vilified HUD and its new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. In his 2015 state of the county address, Astorino pledged that he ‘would not allow un-elected bureaucrats at HUD to create new obligations for the county that were never agreed upon in the settlement.’”
Astorino’s election in 2009 and re-election in 2013 is in part thanks to Westchester County voters, from a county with a history of fair housing fights, who approved of Astorino “savagely attacking HUD.”
If Astorino is chosen as the next HUD Secretary, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule will be in jeopardy.
“In June, Astorino told The Daily Caller that Trump confided in him privately that he would rescind the AFFH rule if elected. If Trump were to name Astorino as secretary of HUD, that would strongly signal his intent to do so.”
National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) president and CEO Diane Yentel has weighed in what a Trump presidency will mean for fair housing in the United States.
“From Trump himself, of course, we haven’t heard much on housing in general and fair housing especially,” says Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “But we do have the Republican Party platform to give us a sense on where the party may be headed on AFFH, and in the party platform it says, AFFH seeks to ‘seize control of the zoning process. . . in order to socially engineer every community in the country.’ So I think that gives us a sense of where the Republican Party is headed and feels generally around fair-housing issues.”
Great advances on AFFH were made under the Obama Administration.
Other impacts could include:
- The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is also at risk. And this could be devastating as the LIHTC “drives the creation of the most housing for low-income and very low-income households.”
- “More direct forms of federal spending on housing are certain to decline under a Republican-controlled Congress.”
- Funding the National Housing Trust Fund with a more dedicated funding stream is not likely.
- Budget sequestrian would continue to negatively affect federal housing funding including spending on the federal Housing Choice Voucher program.