Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law

The Nation Of Change has the devastating piece Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law.  The sub-heading is “Has integration really ever been attempted? ”

The article starts out describing efforts by George Romney, then head of HUD.

Romney ordered HUD officials to reject applications for water, sewer and highway projects from cities and states where local policies fostered segregated housing.

Romney would eventually resign from HUD because his efforts angered President Richard Nixon who tried every thing he could think of to block him.

The story ends with:

At a private fundraising event in Florida in April, Mitt Romney said he would consider closing down HUD if he wins the election.

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them,” he said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.”

What happened in between these two points will stun you.

I remember that as a Bolton, MA resident, a state mandate to locate affordable housing in every Massachusetts town was a very hot topic.  I’ll have to do some research to find out why this effort in Massachusetts was not mentioned in the article.  I cannot even remember who was governor at the time.

I have begun the above promised research with a Google search of “affordable housing act ma”.

This has led me to the WikiPedia article Massachusetts Comprehensive Permit Act: Chapter 40B. The article starts with the following:

The Comprehensive Permit Act is a Massachusetts law which allows developers of affordable housing to override certain aspects of municipal zoning bylaws and other requirements. It consists of Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) Chapter 40B, Sections 20 through 23, along with associated regulations issued and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Chapter 40B was enacted in 1969 to address the shortage of affordable housing statewide by reducing barriers created by local municipal building permit approval processes, local zoning, and other restrictions. Its goal is to encourage the production of affordable housing in all communities throughout the Commonwealth.

This just barely scratches the surface of the issue.

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