NJ AG To Trump: Prove Affordable Housing Dangerous

As President Trump again warned of the dangers of affordable housing to the suburbs, the New Jersey attorney general challenged the Trump Administration to provide evidence that affordable housing leads to increased crime in communities.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal filed two Freedom of Information Act requests seeking the administration to provide “any factual information it has to support the President’s recent inflammatory and unfounded claims that the presence of affordable housing in communities leads to increased crime.” 

“Divisive appeals to prejudice with unfounded statements blaming desegregation for crime are detached from the reality here in New Jersey and across the country,” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said. “As a prosecutor and now as New Jersey’s chief law enforcement officer, I have not seen affordable housing drive increases in criminal activity.

“Those of us working in New Jersey and across the country to promote fair and affordable housing deserve better than to have their efforts undermined by groundless tweets. So today we’re calling on the Trump Administration to back up the President’s claims with facts. If the President’s claims are true, show us the data. Prove it.”

The President has issued a series of Tweets about affordable housing, including:

Last month, Trump rescinded President Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which Trump said, “took away decision-making from local communities.”

Part of the Fair Housing Act, the AFFH rule under Obama was designed to “set out a framework for local governments, States, and public housing agencies to take meaningful actions to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination,” according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Under the old AFFH rule, HUD provides a Far Housing AFH Assessment Tool, “which includes instructions and data provided by HUD, consists of a series of questions designed to help program participants identify, among other things, fair housing issues pertaining to patterns of integration and segregation; racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty; disparities in access to opportunity; and disproportionate housing needs, as well as the contributing factors for those issues.”

A Trump Administration fact sheet on the president’s action says, “This action ends the Federal encroachment on local communities that threatened our nation’s suburbs. The Obama Administration’s original AFFH rule attempted to take local zoning decisions out of the hands of local communities.”

It also claims “AFFH would have imposed a massive regulatory burden on localities, required high density zoning, eliminated single family zoning, and destroyed our suburbs. This overregulation of our suburbs would have harmed Americans’ abilities to work, buy homes, and build lives for their families, including many minority communities.”