Yesterday President Donald Trump announced that he is establishing a task force to supposedly “Eliminate Barriers to Affordable Housing Development.” We at YIMBY Action are gravely concerned that this is merely one more instance of the Trump administration taking advantage of a crisis to hurt our nation’s most vulnerable.
From the outset, it has been clear to housing advocates that this is an underhanded attack on Affordable Housing and low-income tenants. The Trump administration has repeatedly used its power to make people feel unsafe and put funding for Affordable Housing at risk. YIMBYs reject policies that would decrease the number of affordable units being built, and despite this task force’s name, that’s exactly what the Trump Administration seems poised to do. By threatening to take away Community Development Block Grants, the Trump Administration’s proposal will further punish low-income people. It’s a cruel idea that will only serve to further enable wealthy exclusionary communities to raise the drawbridge.
The Trump administration announcement has come during a time when housing is finally taking the national stage. At all levels of government, our leaders are recognizing that we have put up exclusionary barriers to housing, further segregating our communities and pushing more people into poverty. Democratic presidential candidates are putting forward bold plans for systemic change to end the housing shortage. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Julián Castro have come out strongly for real, genuinely equitable zoning reform. No longer is the federal housing conversation relegated to an obscure Obama White House Toolkit, which dryly noted that “Accumulated barriers to housing development can result in significant costs to households, local economies, and the environment.” We are now hearing about the need for more housing from the New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Mother Jones, Slate and so many more.
The Yes In My Back Yard movement is fundamentally about inclusion. YIMBYs are fighting to end the policies of exclusion that have pushed people out and pushed people down. We believe in all-of-the-above strategies to bring more people out of poverty, reduce carbon emissions, and build integrated communities. We must right the wrongs of segregation to build vibrant cities and towns where anyone can thrive. The Trump Administration demonstrably does not share these values. By their every action, they show themselves opposed to racial equity and economic justice. Trump cannot be trusted to enact real, positive housing reform.
YIMBYs reject any attempt on the part of the Trump Administration to co-opt the pro-housing community to advance their policies of hate. We call on all our allies to do the same.