Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, executive director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, released this statement in response to the White House’s announcement yesterday of an executive order creating a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.

“Let’s not pretend anybody serving in this administration has ever truly cared about affordable housing or the critical role that federal, state, and local programs play in keeping a roof over the heads of millions of Americans. Ironically, one of the first things Secretary Carson did at HUD was to gut the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule that would have helped create more affordable housing by equipping cities to overcome restrictive zoning rules. With the council’s stated focus on weakening regulations and dismantling environmental protections, the real beneficiaries of this new Council will be wealthy developers and speculators who want to make a quick buck at the expense of low-income families and communities of color.

The shortage of affordable housing that is facing California is being played out in cities and communities across the U.S. We need a comprehensive approach to our housing crisis and, as Congressional hearings made clear last week, we as a country must acknowledge and address the ongoing impacts that practices – like redlining—have had on keeping homeownership out of reach for millions of people of color. What we don’t need is over-reach by this White House to undo decades of policies at the local and state level – including many recent policy gains in California – that build, protect, and preserve affordable housing.”

Four facts about Members of the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing

  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is the former chair of OneWest Bank’s board, a bank that is the subject of an ongoing redlining complaint and which oversaw tens of thousands of foreclosures during Mnuchin’s tenure.
  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson recently defended this administration’s proposal to take away housing for families whose members have mixed immigration statuses- a move critics suggest could result in 50,000 children becoming homeless.
  • In 1973, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Donald Trump and his father, “alleging that African-Americans and Puerto Ricans were systematically excluded from apartments.” The Trumps later entered into a consent decree over the allegations.
  • In 2018, as Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney stripped the CFPB’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity (OFLEO) of its enforcement powers, a move that was widely criticized by housing advocates who fear it will “open up the floodgates on lending discrimination.”