President Trump tweeted comments on repealing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule earlier this week that caused concern within the housing community. Trump told suburban residents that they would “no longer be bothered” by having low-income housing built in their neighborhoods.
While NAHB believes there are serious flaws in the AFFH rule as written as well as legitimate concerns on how the program would be implemented, that cannot excuse the remarks that were made by the president. NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke made this perfectly clear when he issued a statement to members that said: “NAHB has taken a strong stand that it supports the intent of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing while acknowledging that the rule has had serious problems in implementation at the state and local level. Unfortunately, when the president decided to repeal the rule, he took a line of attack that was uncalled for. NAHB supports the creation of affordable housing wherever it’s needed, including suburban areas.”
Unlike other groups that resorted to simply throwing out empty statements, hollow condemnations and then lauded themselves for their stance, NAHB moved into action by reaching out to the White House and succeeded in getting the administration to agree to a meeting.
Our efforts resulted in a one-on-one call with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who clarified his concerns with the AFFH regulation and reasonable intentions to rescind the rule. The secretary pledged that HUD intends to honor and enforce the Fair Housing Act while providing local governments and citizens -- and not “unelected bureaucrats” -- the tools and appropriate federal oversight necessary to determine the housing needs of their communities.
Secretary Carson urged NAHB and its members to look at the totality of the Trump administration’s commitment to housing and housing affordability and not focus on the president’s recent tweets. These commitments and clarifications by the administration could only be achieved by the efforts and clout of this association, the premier housing organization in Washington. While Secretary Carson said that he would work with relevant stakeholders to truly advance the goals of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, he received NAHB’s bedrock commitment to produce housing for all Americans so they may live in a home of their choice in a community of their choice.