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Citing 'Long Island Divided,' Bellone rebukes Trump over fair housing

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone at an event

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone at an event in Bay Shore in January. Credit: Shelby Knowles

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, citing Newsday's "Long Island Divided" series, rebuked President Donald Trump for rescinding an Obama-era regulation meant to address segregated living patterns and housing disparities.

In a tweet Wednesday, Trump promised that real estate values would rise: “I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low-income housing built in your neighborhood.”

Bellone, referencing the Newsday investigation last year that found evidence of widespread separate and unequal treatment of minority prospective homebuyers on Long Island, tweeted: “Tolerating discrimination is not a suburban lifestyle dream. On LI, we celebrate our diversity and recognize the devastating impact of housing discrimination.”

“@Newsday’s report demonstrated why we need to STRENGTHEN Fair Housing Laws not WEAKEN them!” Bellone tweeted.

Known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, the regulation requires localities that get federal housing funding to do an extensive “assessment” of roadblocks to fair housing and explain plans to overcome those impediments.

Fair-housing advocates say it’s needed to pressure localities to end residential segregation and discrimination, pursuant to the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The Trump administration has said the regulation, known as AFFH, is overly burdensome to both the federal government and localities and that it is ineffective in helping compliance.

In a since-deleted version of the Tweet, Bellone said: "Say whatever you want, Mr. President. But in Suffolk, we will no longer perpetuate the segregation of our communities."  

Bellone spokesman Derek Poppe said the replacement tweet was a “newer iteration.”

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