ACLU Questions San Diego Housing Commission’s Decision To Leave Federal Funds On The Table

Finds CEO's use of the term "social engineering" worrisome.

In an article published today by KPBS, San Diego Housing Commission CEO Rick Gentry referred to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule that seeks to create a more equitable housing policy as “social engineering.” The policy gives families and individuals who use housing vouchers a wider range of housing opportunities. Last month, HUD published a notice of its intent to suspend the Small Area Fair Market Rent designations, which will make it harder for low-income families to find safe and stable housing in our region. The ACLU-SDIC joined housing advocates urging HUD to keep the rule and require its implementation in regions with the greatest concentration of voucher holders in poverty areas, such as San Diego.

All San Diegans deserve equal housing opportunities in safe and inclusive neighborhoods with high performing schools, quality jobs and reliable public transportation. Leaders of  public service housing agencies should be committed to addressing and remedying racial segregation in our communities, instead of perpetuating and creating high concentrations of poverty. Gentry’s labeling of this rather modest housing desegregation policy as “social engineering” is worrisome. 

The City of San Diego has the opportunity to create better, long-term outcomes for families with housing vouchers. Instead, the City of San Diego is leaving these funds on the table. We urge the San Diego City Council to call on Gentry to explain his comments and his decision to forgo much needed funding for affordable housing.