ERASE Racism is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act! See what we have been doing to challenge racial discrimination and segregation on Long Island and in the NY Metro area.
ERASE Racism Leads Successful Effort to Strengthen Suffolk County Human Rights Bill
After leading the effort in achieving a strengthened fair housing law in Nassau County, which included source of income as a protected class, which took effect in 2007, ERASE Racism, as an organizer of the Housing for All Coalition, is celebrating yet another victory in the pursuit for racial equity and protection of human rights.
On Tuesday, September 10th, 2014, HR 1620 passed the Suffolk County Legislature by a unanimous vote. Advanced by County Executive Steve Bellone, the bill expands the County's Human Rights Law to provide residents meaningful protection from discrimination in areas including housing, employment, credit, and public accommodations. The changes passed in the bill are a step forward for human rights in Suffolk County, benefitting a myriad of residents, including veterans, immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, single mothers with children, and seniors.
Read the full press release here.
Read President Elaine Gross's Testimony here.
ERASE Racism's Fair Housing Lawsuit Settles for $165,000
ERASE Racism, along with four other plaintiffs, successfully reached a settlement in a housing discrimination case filed against a Mineola landlord and property manager. The settlement to resolve the lawsuit ERASE Racism, et al. v. LLR Realty LLC, et al. provides $165,000 in damages, attorney's fees, and costs to plaintiffs regarding the rental of apartments at the 75-unit Town House Apartments. The settlement provides for substantial structural changes to the rental operations at the Mineola apartment building. Accordingly, Defendant LLR Realty LLC agreed to adopt and implement non-discrimination policies to prevent future fair housing law violations at the property.
Read the full press release here.
Background Information About the Case and Initial Press Coverage When It Became Public
On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, ERASE Racism, the Fair Housing Justice Center (“FHJC”) and three African American testers filed a lawsuit in federal district court alleging that the owners and managers of an apartment building in the Village of Mineola discriminates against African American renters. This lawsuit came about after a 2012 investigation, jointly funded and sponsored by ERASE Racism and FHJC, which included sending several teams of comparably qualified African American and white testers posing as prospective renters to inquire about apartments at the 74-unit Town House Apartments located at 225 First Street in the Village of Mineola, a predominantly white community in Nassau County. According to the lawsuit, an “Apartment for Rent” sign appeared at the entrance of one of the largest rental buildings in Mineola. Despite the sign, the complaint alleges that the building superintendent discouraged African Americans from renting apartments by misrepresenting the availability of apartments, not showing available apartments, quoting higher rents, and/or suggesting there could be a wait because other people were ahead of them.
On April 28, 2014, ERASE Racism submitted a civil rights complaint to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), alleging that Nassau County (the County) discriminates against African-Americans and perpetuates racial segregation in the administration of its housing and community development programs. The Complaint identifies violations committed by the County itself, as well as the County’s failure to enforce federal civil rights requirements on members of the Nassau Urban County Consortium.
Click here to read the press release
Click here to read the HUD Administrative Complaint and Supporting Materials
ERASE Racism continues to submit concerns to the state about the oversight and distribution of Superstorm Sandy disaster relief funds. Most recently, we have provided a letter to The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery outlining how the proposed Action Plan for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (Amendment 6) could perpetuate racial segregation on Long Island if more measures are not taken.
Introducing Housing News
Did you receive a copy in the mail of the Winter 2014 issue of our new publication, Housing News? You can read it now online . If you wish to receive future issues of Housing News in the mail, please join our Partnership for Racial Equity and submit your mailing address.
ERASE Racism continues its efforts to fight housing discrimination and to promote nondiscriminatory affordable housing development. With this newsletter, we hope to educate, inspire and motivate you to join us in our efforts. Together we can make a difference.
Other Fair Housing News
Town of Oyster Bay Sued for Racially Discriminatory Affordable Housing Programs
On April 10, 2014, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced the filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that Town of Oyster Bay, Town Supervisor John Venditto, and the Long Island Housing Partnership, Inc. engaged in a pattern and practice of racial discrimination against African Americans in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The suit alleges that the use of residency requirements to access newly built affordable housing discriminated against African Americans who are severely underrepresented in the Town. The residency requirements for the "Next Generation" and "Golden Age" affordable housing programs give a preference to Town of Oyster Bay residents and relatives of Oyster Bay residents, a majority of whom are white.
An earlier investigation conducted by the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) yielded evidence of Oyster Bay's discriminatory residency preferences in its zoning code and this information was shared with the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2008. FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg stated, "While there is an urgent and unmet need to increase the supply of affordable housing throughout the New York region, the housing must be available on a non-discriminatory basis."
President Lyndon B. Johnson's Radio and Television Remarks Upon Signing the Civil Rights Bill
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 we are providing the full transcript of President Johnson's speech upon signing the Act. It begins "My fellow Americans: I am about to sign into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I want to take this occasion to talk to you about what that law means to every American."