Friday, March 4, 2011

HUD helps stand up to St. Bernard Parish

Not bad: For at least a couple of months, HUD has been accusing St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana of racist motives in creating ordinances that discourage apartment housing. The focus has been a mixed-income project on four sites sponsored by Provident Realty Advisors, Inc. HUD had to be doing something right to provoke this vintage-1964 response by Councilman Wayne Landry to the Times-Picayune:
"Shame on the federal government ... I think governments should have a fiduciary responsibility to protect people's property value, and the government just isn't considering the devastating long-term impact multifamily housing could have on the already unstable St. Bernard real estate market."
Funny the things people think are and aren't in the Constitution.

HUD filed a formal complaint and even reportedly "threatened to pull millions of dollars in recovery money from the state and the parish if the permits weren't reissued."

Presumably that will help, though it certainly hasn't ended the long-running St. Bernard Parish integration fight.

Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center has been in federal court since 2006 over a series of St. Bernard Parish anti-rental ordinances. To give you an idea, the first victory in the litigation was to end enforcement of an ordinance that banned renting to any person not a blood relative of the property owner.

Latest move is a restraining order petition from GNOFHAC in federal court. As you can see from the text here, the good guys have some very sweet legal help, including people from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Tulane Law Clinic, and the Washington-based housing civil rights firm of Relman, Dane & Colfax.

GNOFHAC was also one of the larger grantees in that batch of HUD fair housing grants a few days ago.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

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