Another county has rejected grants covered by HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, effectively nullifying a federal program designed to gain control over local communities.

Castle Rock, a city of 55,000 people in central Colorado and Wayne County N.J., along with Sedgwick County, Kansas, and Douglas County, Colorado, have all recently refused funds from the federal government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). We can add Forsyth County, Ga. to that list.

New HUD regulations known as Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) totaling 377 pages in, all give unelected HUD bureaucrats broad powers over grant recipient communities, including the power effectively negate decisions by local voters and force them to join “regions” against the their wishes. Under AFFH, the federal government can control zoning, planning, land use, location of public transportation, and even the socioeconomic diversity of elementary and secondary classrooms.

In August, Forsyth County commissioners voted 5-0 to decline a federal grant from the HUD Community Development Block Grant Entitlement Program. According to the Forsyth County News, the commission made the decision after County Attorney Ken Jarrard gave an update and offered his legal opinions on the county accepting the grant. He highlighted the fair housing assessment required under new HUD regulations.

“Now we have to do what’s called an assessment of fair housing, which is much more involved, which has a unique set of regulations that encompass not only what may be impediments to our needs in Forsyth County, but also how Forsyth County fits in the region as a whole,” Jarrard said.

Rather than submit to federal control, the commission elected to simply reject the funding.

According to Property Value Defense, the primary issue with AFFH rules lies in its promotion of “regionalism.”

HUD, DOT and the EPA have been instrumental in fostering regionalism since 1993. In 2009, the three agencies formed a “Partnership for Sustainable Development” for the express purpose of merging their unique authorities toward the common goal of advancing sustainable regions.  In June 2016, the agency also teamed with the Department of Education to promote regional Equity Assistance Centers to advance income integration in elementary and secondary classrooms.

These agencies are working feverishly to infill suburbs by transplanting urban families into the outlying communities, which then merge with nearby counties and towns into larger regions managed by unelected councils.

Even HUD’s new Assessment of Fair Housing, the document applicants must complete to receive AFFH related grants, requires grant recipients to align their local plan with a regional plan.

Towns, counties and states need to follow the lead of these local communities and reject federal funding with all of its strings. While the money with the promise of funding wonderful projects serves as an enticing carrot, a large stick inevitably follows. By taking the money, cities, towns, counties and states forfeit control over their own communities. Instead, bureaucrats in D.C. get to dictate and direct local concerns. It isn’t about helping poor people. It’s about command and control.

State and local government can’t complain when they willingly let the feds bribe them into relinquishing control. But they can refuse the money.

This is the simplest and most effective nullification strategy there is: if you don’t want the federal control, don’t take the money. It’s as simple as that.

Mike Maharrey

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