Lawsuit throws Houston’s access to disaster-recovery funds into jeopardy

Local housing group is blocking Houston from receiving federal funds in protest of the city's policies

Left: Sylvester Turner in 2015. (Credit: Traci Patterson, back photo by Nick Youngson)
Left: Sylvester Turner in 2015. (Credit: Traci Patterson, back photo by Nick Youngson)

A local housing group is taking Houston to task over policies that it says perpetuates racial segregation throughout the city.

The group, called Texas Housers, filed a lawsuit last week alleging that the city has a track record of refusing to allow low-income housing developments to be built in predominantly white neighborhoods and that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has known about it all along, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The suit could block Houston from receiving the $30 million it receives annually from HUD and much more; the state has received $5 billion from HUD and is now tasked at distributing it throughout area affected from last year’s hurricane season, and HUD has another $28 billion it still needs to distribute to areas damaged by natural disasters.

“The lawsuit is not in the best interests of people in the city of Houston, who were directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey and found themselves displaced by the flood waters,” the Houston mayor’s spokesman, Alan Bernstein, told the Journal.

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But the Housers say the rebuilding process has to be done equitably.

“Are we going to continue upholding segregation are or are we going to give families a real choice?” said co-director Chrishelle Palay to the Journal. [WSJ]Erin Hudson