On Friday, March 30, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York filed an objection to a recent ruling by a Federal Magistrate Judge, related to Westchester County, New York's compliance with a landmark fair housing agreement reached in 2009. Specifically, the Government continues to maintain that the County Executive's veto of legislation banning housing discrimination based on a person's source of income represents a breach of the County's obligation to promote that type of legislation. The Government’s objection will be heard by the Honorable Denise Cote, the United States District Judge assigned to the case.
It is important to note that in his recent ruling, the Magistrate Judge agreed with the Government's position that HUD has the exclusive authority to determine the acceptability of the County's submission of an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice and the County's certification that it is affirmatively furthering fair housing within its borders. To date, the County has yet to do its part. Fulfilling these obligations is a necessary condition of receiving federal taxpayer dollars.
The Magistrate Judge also agreed with the Government that the County has yet to fully address the obstacle of exclusionary zoning practices among local municipalities within its borders. HUD believes the County is obliged to identify adequately these obstacles to fair housing choice and then to specify to HUD how it intends to overcome them.
HUD is more than willing to work with the County to resolve these outstanding matters so that housing opportunities become available to all families in Westchester County.