Housing Discrimination Case Against Suburban Town Settles, Eliminating Biased Residency Preference
- February 27, 2012
On February 27, 2012, a federal judge approved a multi-year consent decree resolving a housing discrimination case filed on behalf of the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) in December 2010 against the Town of Yorktown. The lawsuit alleged that the Town, a predominantly white community in northern Westchester County, discriminated on the basis of race and national origin in its administration of its Section 8 rental assistance and other affordable housing programs. In applying a local residency preference, the Town effectively excluded African Americans and Latinos on the waiting list from receiving federally funded housing vouchers.
Under the proposed agreement, the Town will eliminate all residency preferences in its housing programs. Additionally, the Town will reorder its current waiting list to give priority to non-resident applicants currently residing in high-poverty neighborhoods, offer higher rent amounts to non-resident applicants who choose to move to eligible low-poverty areas in northern Westchester County, provide Town officials with fair housing training, provide fair housing informational materials to Section 8 voucher holders, take steps to recruit landlords to the program, and affirmatively market the program to minority populations in Westchester County prior to re-opening the waiting list, in addition to other policies designed to ensure future compliance with fair housing laws. Finally, the Town will pay $165,000 in monetary compensation to the FHJC. ECBAWM’s Julia Einbond, Zoe Salzman, and Diane L. Houk represented the plaintiff in the case.