- Latest news item posted on 07/29/2015 at 07:21 AM
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Living Apart: How the government betrayed a landmark civil rights law
(NEW JERSEY, July 29, 2015)
-- It’s long been something of a slogan for President Obama and his administration: one’s ZIP code should not determine one’s future.
This month, the administration announced an effort it said would put some muscle behind the slogan, saying it would enforce a new set of rules involving federally subsidized housing that require cities and counties to actively document and combat segregation in their communities.
Julian Castro, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said in a statement that the rules “will give local leaders the tools they need to provide all Americans with access to safe, affordable housing in communities that are rich with opportunity.”
FULL STORY at njtoday.net
Helpful hint from Julian Castro on how to desegregate the park cities
(DALLAS, Texas, July 29, 2015)
-- So excited earlier this month. We read that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and his boss, the president, are not the pushovers on fair housing we thought they were. Not anymore. Apparently, now they’re tough.
Nine months ago it was looking pretty sad here. That’s when Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, was just taking the reins at HUD. Practically the first thing he did when he got into the office was gut a four-year federal housing investigation of Dallas.
After schmoozing with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Castro kicked the pins from under his own HUD fair housing staff. They thought they had compiled a bullet-proof case against Dallas for misusing HUD money over the span of a decade to fund a sub rosa program of deliberate racial segregation.
Nobody ever explained why a four-year probe and a tough letter of findings wound up in the circular file, but, anyway, who cares now? Castro and President Obama have unveiled a brand-new, get-tough, no-more-schmoozing, no more Mr. Nice Guy policy on fair housing. They say they will use super sophisticated new high-tech techniques to sleuth out racially segregated communities and then marshal various federal resources to work to overcome those patterns.
FULL STORY at dallasobserver.com
Justice Department settles discrimination lawsuit with Biafora's Inc.
(WASHINGTON, July 28, 2015)
-- A new apartment complex with 100 wheelchair accessible units will be built in Morgantown as part of a settlement between the Justice Department and a Morgantown developer.
Biafora's Inc. was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act by building 23 complexes in West Virginia and Pennsylvania that were inaccessible to people with disabilities. The group, and several affiliated companies, have agreed to pay $205,000. They'll also make certain changes to fix the accessibility issues to some buildings. These include replacing or making sloped portions of sidewalks, installing cabinets in bathrooms and kitchens to provide room for wheelchairs and widening doorways.
The defendants will also pay $180,000 to establish a settlement fund for the purpose of compensating individuals with disabilities who have been impacted by the accessibility violations and $25,000 as a civil penalty.
FULL STORY at wdtv.com
High Desert fair housing claims settled for $2M
(LOS ANGELES, July 20, 2015)
-- The Justice Department has settled claims that Los Angeles County Housing Authority and two cities in the Antelope Valley discriminated against hundreds of African-Americans who received housing assistance.
Palmdale, Lancaster and the housing authority agreed Monday to compensate black residents in low-income subsidized, or Section 8, housing after prosecutors filed a federal complaint alleging a campaign to force residents out of the cities.
According to the Justice Department, city officials contracted with the housing authority to spend "substantial financial resources to voucher-program enforcement efforts" and enlisted LA Sheriff Department Deputies to assist them.
Deputies harassed black people in subsidized housing, searching homes with help from housing authority investigators who descended on homes with as many as nine deputy sheriffs in tow, the Justice Department had alleged.
FULL STORY at courthousenews.com