When does the quest for diversity go too far? 

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is HUD’s latest rule to prevent housing discrimination. The rule makes it easier (through a HUD-provided tool and clarified HUD regulations) for housing authorities and communities to track area demographics. The resulting statistics will create a more wholistic picture of a neighborhood and will allow communities to make decisions that further diversity instead of propagating unwitting segregation.


The thought process from what I can tell (and I am only a handful of pages into the 377 page document outlining the rule, its history and its implications) is discrimination takes place in certain areas not because of a conscious decision to separate people but because information about who lives where (and in what density) is limited, fragmented, and not regulated by HUD. By creating a tool to help track demographic information such as age, family type, race, disability or veteran status and income, local HUD-funded agencies will be more mindful about where they construct new buildings and which populations will be served in which locations. It is a way to create balance.


I think this is an admirable idea (I support diversity, especially in government run housing), but I hope the rule takes into consideration the desires of the residents -the primary stakeholders. Because sometimes, to the chagrin of liberals and advocates, people do not want diversity for themselves. If a person wants to remain in a certain area, but that area has already met its quota of people who look and act like them, will they be turned away? Or will their public housing authority say, “sure”, and simply note the preference in their documentation to HUD? If it is not the latter then we are looking at a weird dystopian future in housing.

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