I was asked to speak in front of the Suffolk County Legislature‘s Economic Development, Planning, and Housing Committee on November 16, 2022 for Long Island Housing Services.
I learned a lot.
I was asked to speak about the problem with local preferences in housing. I prepared to talk about that topic, and our relationship with Suffolk County.
Naive me didn’t bother to think about what I had seen happen on C-Span when a witness testifies in front of a legislative committee. To see how I handled the barrage of questions on various housing issues from a variety of ideological viewpoints go here: https://livestream.com/scnylegislature/events/10063725/videos/233875772
What is a Local Preference?
From the article that I recently wrote for Touro Law Review on 20 Ways to Fight Housing Discrimination:
HUD allows local housing authorities to give preferences to certain classes of persons, and these preferences might seem neutral or socially positive on their face. The problem is that if these preferences are based on already existing residency in a municipality, and that municipality is less diverse than the surrounding area, then these preferences serve to reinforce patterns of segregation. Therefore, it is left to the municipality to certify that their use of HUD funds do not discriminate. Self-certification by municipalities has failed to enforce the law. Thus, the simplest solution is to ban local preferences as a method of determining who receives affordable housing from the limited stock available. It is a much better path than doing the constant statistical analysis of local preferences to ensure they do not discriminate against any protected class. Please contact your town or village officials to ask them to ban all local preferences because they can often act to reinforce segregation. [footnotes omitted]