The Obama administration is not bowing out quietly.
On May 8, the New York Post reported that Housing Secretary Julian Castro has plans for Section 8 which will see more affluent suburbs integrated with families from the inner cities.
The programme — Small-Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) — comes into effect in October 2016:
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.
The Post says that Castro paved the way for this in two ways.
Last year, he implemented 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).
In April 2016, he threatened to sue suburban landlords if they refused to rent to people with criminal records, on grounds of discrimination.
When SAFMR comes into effect, it will forcibly lower rent subsidies for areas like Brooklyn and raise them for wealthy suburbs such as those in Westchester County (emphases mine):
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.
This is not a new concept. Bill Clinton tried something similar in 1994, with disastrous results. In an effort to socially and economically improve the lives of the urban poor, his Moving to Opportunity Initiative took families out of urban public housing and transferred them to more middle-class neighbourhoods and communities.
Clinton’s initiative died a death in 2009. In 2011, HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) sponsored a study which 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.
That is really sad.
The Post pointed out that quiet, industrious Dubuque, Iowa, is still suffering from increased crime rates after an influx of Chicago inner-city residents moved there, subsidised by Section 8 vouchers.
The article went on to say that left-wing experts looked at Dubuque’s situation and concluded that it would have been less likely to happen if Section 8 families had been relocated to affluent suburbs instead.
As a result, in 2012, HUD decided to experiment with the Dallas area. They ‘sweetened’ Section 8 vouchers and encouraged inner-city residents to move to communities furthest away from the city.
What happened? The same thing as in Dubuque:
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.
Come October, the same results may well be replicated across the country.
Not only will residents feel and probably be less safe, but their property values will also plummet.
It’s interesting that Julian Castro’s name often comes up as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton. Ironically, Chappaqua, the town where the Clintons live, is currently fighting Section 8 housing because of the crime wave it brings.
Back in 2008, reports circulated that ruining the peaceful life of suburbs and exurbs was one of Obama’s plans. It is not surprising that nothing happened until now. Americans should expect more social re-engineering between now and January 2017.