MAPC Executive Director Issues Statement on Repeal of AFFH Regulations
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Marc Draisen, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), today released the the following statement:
"President Trump’s repeal of regulations that encourage local government to affirmatively further the goal of fair housing, accompanied by a racist tweet, represent a new low point in his ongoing attempt to divide rather than to unite our badly fractured country. He is wrong on so many levels, it is hard to know where to begin.
First of all, the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing is not just the title of a regulation issued by President Obama. It is the law of the land, and it has been since 1968.
Secondly, almost all the affordable housing we build today—in cities as well as suburbs—serves a range of incomes. Housing provides a bridge that allows people of all kinds to live together. That’s what making a community is all about.
Finally, mixed-income housing does not harm local property values – it enhances them! Having a brand new, well managed building go up in your neighborhood is a sign that people want to live there. It doesn’t damage the market; it demonstrates the strength of the market.
The persistence of residential segregation in our country is growing worse. In the Boston region, children are now more likely to live in segregated neighborhoods than adults. And we all know the life prospects of our children are closely tied to the zip code where they grow up. Discrimination in real estate, lending, and zoning strengthens the bonds of segregation at a time when we should all be working to release those bonds.
At MAPC, we believe people of all races, backgrounds, and incomes should be able to find a safe, secure home they can afford everywhere in our region. Families who want to live in dense inner-city neighborhoods should be able to find a home there; families who want to live in a more suburban setting should be able to find a home there; and families who want to live in a quiet rural area should be able to find a home there.
We believe state and local government have a responsibility to advance that goal. It would be better to have the federal government as a partner, but for the time being, we will go on without them. Just this week, our Legislature took several steps in the right direction. Both the House and Senate passed bills and authorized funds to build more housing, to make it more affordable, and to allow tenants a right-of-first refusal when their buildings are sold. Now these bills are headed to conference committee, and we expect they will be on Governor Baker’s desk shortly. These are solid advances—not as far as we need to go, but in the right direction. Nothing the current occupant of the White House can do will divert us from that path."