Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
A Special Gift!
by David Stanowski
01 November 2013
We would like to thank HUD for giving us another important exhibit for our case!
Their recent letter to the TDHCA, "certifying" that building at Cedar Terrace will Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH), has unwittingly further exposed their crucial role in ordering, organizing, and coordinating their "local agents", (the GLO, the GHA and the City of Galveston) in rebuilding Public Housing, in a location that will violate the Fair Housing Act (FHA), for the political and financial benefit of certain special interest groups and a well-connected developer.
This "coordinated and concerted effort" clearly shows that their discrimination against GHA residents is intentional and not simply a matter of well-meaning plans that somehow went badly. No, this is good old-fashioned cold-war-era intentional discrimination. HUD and its local agents want all the Public Housing for Galveston County confined to impoverished minority neighborhoods in this city, for a variety of nefarious reasons, and they are using all of their combined political muscle to make that happen, regardless of the law.
The best part of this bungled attempt to give the TDHCA political and legal cover, to grant Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), in violation of the FHA, is the fact that they did not even pretend to do a fair-housing analysis to justify the "conclusion" in their letter, that building at Cedar Terrace would AFFH. This is like a doctor doing a diagnosis without examining the patient; it is malpractice, plain and simple!
They simply received a phone call that a very important developer needed a letter to get their LIHTCs, and the letter basically wrote itself. No muss, no fuss, no analysis, no examination needed.
Do the three Assistant Secretaries from HUD, who signed the letter, even know the location of Cedar Terrace? How can they certify that it is AFFH compliant, when HUD doesn't even know the definition of AFFH! (see below)
"Several officials in key positions said they had never been trained to enforce the law's requirement to "affirmatively further" fair housing." Page 3
"In interviews, many HUD officials acknowledged they have no idea how to enforce the provision for affirmatively furthering fair housing." Page 22
"It is fair to say, it is accurate to say, that the only situation in which HUD is doing anything effectively to affirmatively further fair housing are situations where there has been litigation," said Florence Wagman Roisman, a law professor at Indiana University.
"Then it does as little as possible, as grudgingly as possible." Page 24
Living Apart: The Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law
This letter may become an exhibit in at least one other case. Westchester County, New York is involved in a rare situation where HUD has accused them of violating the FHA. However, now that HUD has "certified" that Cedar Terrace is AFFH complainant, how could Westchester County fail to AFFH?
What is HUD going to do if Westchester County takes this letter to their federal judge and argues that if HUD has certified the Cedar Terrace census tract, with 61% poverty, how can they fail any of their census tracts with similar levels? If HUD, tells the judge that New York must build in high-opportunity census tracts, with less than 10% poverty, but forces Galveston to build in a neighborhood with 61% poverty; it will become clear that their so-called "certification" is simply a political favor. A favor granted at the expense of the poor of this County.
This letter could be used to try to destroy the requirement that Public Housing must be built in high-opportunity neighborhoods, because if Cedar Terrace passes, then virtually every neighborhood is acceptable! This means it could be used by developers to justify building in any awful blighted neighborhood, with high profit potential, as is being done in this case. If left unchallenged in court, this letter could set back many of the fair housing advances of the last 50 years.
By failing to understand all of the consequences of certifying an unacceptable location, as a favor for a developer, HUD has opened the door to many legal problems in other jurisdictions. They never fail to meet our expectations for incompetence and corruption.
We look forward to challenging their bogus "certification", because it will only help to expose this agency's real agenda!