Anti-discrimination center fights Westchester’s allegedly unfair housing policies

June 02, 2011 01:57PM

The Anti-Discrimination Center, a New York City non-profit housing group, has asked a Manhattan district court to enforce a 2009 consent decree that settled a lawsuit over Westchester County’s alleged failure to
follow federal fair-housing laws, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The center, which was awarded $7.5 million in the settlement, claims that the county is skirting its obligations to enforce the laws, citing missed deadlines and failure to provide sufficient planning documents. The center also complained that the federal government and court-appointed monitor aren’t doing enough to ensure compliance.

A representative for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the department is taking the case seriously. It is currently withholding $7.3 million in yearly federal housing funds for Westchester until the county meets requirements.

In 2009, a federal court ruled that Westchester has misrepresented its fair-housing efforts. A $63 million settlement was awarded and almost $52 million of that was allocated to build or acquire at least 750 homes in minority areas.

“[It] was supposed to mark the moment… when serious steps would be taken to overcome the residential segregation that continues to plague our society,” said Robert Stroup, the center’s co-counsel. “Instead, we have seen almost two years of Westchester continuing the same attitudes and policies that landed it in trouble in the first place.” [WSJ]