A lawsuit coming out of Mount Holly, New Jersey has caught the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court. The case involves the scope of the Fair Housing Act, a federal law intended to prevent housing discrimination.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful “[t]o refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer . . . or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.” The specific question before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether the statute authorizes disparate impact claims, and, if so, under what circumstances.
Read more at Supreme Court Takes Interest in Mount Holly Case | Politicker NJ.
HUD’s largest program of grants to states, cities and towns has delivered $137 billion to more than 1,200 communities since 1974. To receive the money, localities are supposed to identify obstacles to fair housing, keep records of their efforts to overcome them, and certify that they do not discriminate.
ProPublica could find only two occasions since Romney’s tenure in which the department withheld money from communities for violating the Fair Housing Act. In several instances, records show, HUD has sent grants to communities even after they’ve been found by courts to have promoted segregated housing or been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice. New Orleans, for example, has continued to receive grants after the Justice Department sued it for violating that Fair Housing Act by blocking a low-income housing project in a wealthy historic neighborhood.
Read more at Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law – ProPublica.
Next Wednesday, the New Jersey Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the biggest fair housing case in New Jersey in decades, which poses the question whether municipalities can exclude lower-income families, including people who work in their community, senior citizens and people with special needs.
Read more at Opinion: Unfair housing, ‘You can work here, but you can’t be my neighbor’ | NJ.com.
A federal judge has granted an all encompassing judgment against St. Bernard Parish in the long-running housing discrimination case over its denials under former-Parish President Craig Taffaro‘s administration of mixed-income and multifamily housing. The judgement also orders the parish to pay about $625,000 in another round of fees, cost and damages related to that case.
The ruling also entitles the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and Provident Realty Advisors to additional attorneys’ fees, costs and for damages due to the parish’s violations of the Fair Housing Act and due to the parish’s and other named parities contempt of earlier court rulings. A magistrate judge will determine those additional monetary figures.
Read more at St. Bernard Parish fair housing case goes another round, more fees awarded | NOLA.com.
In about a month, Sutter County supervisors will have a tough choice on their hands: Angry residents in one neighborhood, or searching for suitable affordable housing land somewhere else.
As part of the General Plan update the county adopted last year, the state requires Sutter County to include parcels for affordable housing in its housing element.
The requirement only calls for such local governments to zone land for such purposes, not to build the housing, said Steve Geiger, a Sutter County principal planner.
Read more at Sutter County Affordable Housing Plan Draws Criticism | LoanSafe.
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —
A group of New Smyrna Beach residents is fighting a proposed low-income housing development near their neighborhood.
A Winter Park developer is planning to build Causeway Landings, an apartment complex along the North Causeway, next to the upscale Venesia neighborhood.
WFTV’s Steve Barrett talked to residents about why they’re against the project.
Delores Burkhard is one of the residents organizing the opposition to Causeway Landings. The proposed 239-unit complex would be for families making $20,000 to $40,000 a year.
“We don’t want that many rentals here. I don’t think there are that many renters in New Smyrna Beach. So units will sit empty, and it just isn’t what we were looking for as the gateway to New Smyrna,” said Burkhard.
Read more at New Smyrna group fighting proposed low-income housing… | www.wftv.com.
Affluent suburban communities are refusing to build state-mandated affordable housing, leaving the inner-city poor with few options
On the same day that Illinois Republicans voted to endorse Mitt Romney, residents in Winnetka, a Chicago suburb, voted on a seemingly straightforward question: “Should the Village of Winnetka expand [its] existing Affordable Housing Plan?” Seventy-five percent of voters answered, “No.”
The plan, whose tweaks to zoning law and modest subsidies might have been quietly approved in another place and time, instead became the center of a raging debate in which usually civil neighbors slung personal insults, community newsletters warned about a coming wave of sex offenders and the village council attempted to issue itself a gag order. The vote was the final nail in the coffin for an ambitious campaign, nearly a decade in the making, to open Winnetka’s housing stock to teachers, nurses, retirees, and students–among other working and middle-class people–who might want to settle among the CEOs and investment bankers who currently populate a community with a median household income of $167,000 a year.
But while some of the country’s wealthiest people rushed to reinforce the walls around their neighborhoods, others just a few miles away were tentatively pulling them down. Lake Forest, a suburb that, like Winnetka, is a member of Chicago’s wealthy North Shore, was preparing to sell its first two subsidized homes, using a model that had been employed with considerable success elsewhere in the area.
Read more at Exiling the Poor – In These Times.