Section 8, Fair Housing and Disparate Impact

Section 8, Fair Housing and Disparate Impact

Orlando Property Manager

Section 8, Fair Housing and Disparate Impact

I’ve said it a number of times over the years, and I’ll probably continue to say it for many more to come:  I hate the Section 8 program.  Folks in favor of it and similar voucher-type assistance programs may say “Don’t hate the player- hate the game”, and that’s exactly what I hate- the voucher racket and all that’s associated with it.

Sure, I can hear some of you already- saying “Folks need help”, “The economy is bad!” and/or some variation of “If George Bush had….or if he hadn’t….”.  My response would be that I agree, yes it is, and it’s no longer George Bush’s fault.

Let there be no doubt that I see a need for “folks to get help”- and anyone buy the staunchest of Obama supporters would agree that the economy is bad and Bush has nothing to do with it 5 years in the current administration’s tenure.  What I don’t see a need for is the Section 8 program and other similar ones that force us to pay for someone else’s rent.

Call it crazy or old-school, but I have this funky idea in my head that folks should pay their own rent– and it’s not my fault if they can’t do so, and I contend it shouldn’t be my responsibility to pay their rent for them.  Our government and its programs like this have done nothing but create generations of an entitled dependency class possessing little desire to stand on their own their feet, blissfully content with taking the government-imposed charity forced from the hands of their hard-working neighbors.

The misguided “Housing is a right” mindset carries over from Section 8, of course- and lands in the discussion over “disparate impact”.  Going above and beyond our “normal” Fair Housing laws which seek to ensure all have an equal opportunity to housing and look to assess the intent of folks who might deny one that access, disparate impact focuses on practices’ results.  This is a scary thing for the honest and well-intentioned among us- for entities claiming discrimination need only prove disagreeable results despite good intent.

December 4th will be a big day for both Fair Housing and disparate impact, as the Supreme Court hears Case 11-1507, Township of Mount Holly, New Jersey vs. Mount Holly Citizens in Action.  In this, Mount Holly is being accused of discrimination against minorities for seeking to allow detached single family housing in a certain area.  The claim is that poorer folks won’t be able to afford them… and since minorities are most likely to be poor, building the homes would discriminate against minorities.

The words of none other than the FHA’s champion Walter Mondale arise in this argument, as he stated that its intent was “to permit people who have the ability to do so to buy any house offered to the public if they can afford to buy it”.

My, how we’ve strayed…far from Mondale’s words and farther still from the principles of our founding.  Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity should be just that- a guaranteed level playing field for all.  Free housing at the expense of neighbors’ tax dollars and preventing others’ homes from being built due to the inability of some to afford them was never anyone’s intent- and there’s nothing fair about it.

Let’s hope the Supreme Court gets this one right.

Section 8, Fair Housing and Disparate Impact


About Dennis Burgess

Dennis B. Burgess Realtor in Orlando, FL ORRA Vice-chairman of Strategic Planning/Secretary ORRA/FR Boards of Directors Empire Network Realty 6000 S. Rio Grande Ave., #104 Orlando, FL 32803 Cell: 205-445-4755 Office: 407-440-3798 Twitter: @orlrentals Turning vacant into occupied, and "houses" into "homes"
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