City won’t release details on racial breakdown of affordable housing lotteries: lawyer

Anti-Discrimination Center also claims the de Blasio administration is hiding information from the public
August 08, 2017 08:30AM

Alicia Glen

Alicia Glen (credit: Max Dworkin)

The de Blasio administration is hiding details about the racial and ethnic breakdown of the affordable housing lotteries and is trying to keep the deputy mayor from giving evidence about City policies, says an attorney representing New Yorkers suing the City.

Craig Gurian, a lawyer with the Anti-Discrimination Center, launched a lawsuit against the City in 2015, arguing the practice of keeping affordable units in housing lotteries for people from the local community worsens racial segregation, the New York Daily News reported.

As part of the suit, the center hired a Queens College professor to analyze the racial and ethnic breakdown of the affordable housing lotteries, according to the publication. However, a judge has sealed the report from the public, a move that Gurian has appealed. The City is also trying to block Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen from giving evidence in the case.

“We are not permitted to describe his findings in any way, even though this is about a public policy that has a direct impact on hundreds of thousands of city residents,” Gurian said of the report. “It’s just very striking that the city would take the view that this is something to be held from the public.” The City claims releasing the information would reveal private information about residents.

The city’s new 421a program, now known as Affordable New York, no longer gives locals the chance to apply for affordable units before anyone else, according to a report from Crain’s last month. The bill was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, by which point the “community preference” language had been removed. That means it was removed by the city or the legislature. [NYDN]Miriam Hall