Donald Trump has promised Americans living in a suburban neighbourhood that they won’t be “bothered” by low-income housing if he wins a second term.
The US president previously floated the idea of rolling back Obama-era efforts to prod local governments into building more low-income housing in affluent areas.
On Thursday morning (Australian time), Mr Trump confirmed in a series of tweets that he will keep low-income housing out of suburbs if he wins the election in November.
He had earlier touched down in Texas, which is battling major coronavirus outbreaks. The reason for his visit, however, was not to tour hospitals but to hold a campaign fundraiser in a large oil-producing field called the Permian Basin.
As for his housing promise, Mr Trump is specifically targeting the so-called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation, introduced by the Obama administration in 2015, to prevent racial discrimination in housing.
Under the rule, cities that received federal housing money had to address local housing discrimination which continued to thrive despite the 1968 Fair Housing Act prohibiting discrimination when selling and renting houses.
In a bid to appeal to suburban voters, Mr Trump tweeted that he would revoke the fair housing rule so “people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream” won’t be “bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood”.
“Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!” he continued.
It came after a Fox News Poll revealed Democratic hopeful Joe Biden trailed by 11 points among suburban voters. Mr Trump recently said Mr Biden would “destroy” the suburbs.
But Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus is proving to be the biggest threat to his re-election campaign.
With nearly 4.4 million infections recorded, US deaths from the coronavirus have surpassed 150,000, the highest level in the world, the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University reveals.
Yet Mr Trump’s focus is on replacing the Obama-era fair housing rule with a new rule called “Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice”, his administration revealed earlier this month.
Peggy Bailey, vice president of housing policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said: “This is coming at a time when we’re seeing the heavy price that communities of color pay when we allow segregation and discrimination to happen.”
“The impact will be, communities will be allowed to sweep housing discrimination under the rug,” she said.
“There will be limited, if no accountability, if communities enact policies that advance segregation and discrimination.”
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson last week said it reviewed the fair housing rule and found it to be “unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with”.
Mr Carson said the rule “too often” resulted in “funds being steered away from communities that need them most”.