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CUOMO WELCOMES FINAL APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT GIVING MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS GREATER ACCESS TO HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES
WASHINGTON - Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today welcomed the final court approval of a settlement expected to give public housing residents in Miami-Dade County, FL greater access to housing opportunities.
After a fairness hearing in Miami, Judge James C. Paine of the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida gave final approval to a Consent Decree that settles a class action lawsuit filed by public housing residents.
"This is a good settlement and a major step toward providing increased, more integrated housing opportunities for black residents of Miami-Dade public housing and indeed for all the residents of Miami-Dade County," Cuomo said.
The Consent Decree will enable class members of the lawsuit to receive Section 8 rental assistance and will also improve conditions in Miami-Dade public housing. The agreement responds to claims of racial discrimination raised by a class of black current, former and future public housing residents. The residents had alleged that they were denied equal access to Section 8 rental certificates and vouchers and Moderate Rehabilitation housing units, and thus effectively restricted in their housing choice to predominantly black public housing developments in predominantly black neighborhoods.
Under the settlement, class members will be provided special opportunities to receive certificates and vouchers that will allow them to rent apartments owned by private landlords. The rental assistance will be accompanied by mobility counseling and incentives to encourage these families to move to other neighborhoods they might choose to live in. The agreement also includes several provisions designed to improve and integrate the County's public housing developments.
Miami-Dade County has committed to enhance the services provided public housing residents and to improve the surrounding neighborhoods. Non-blacks will also be offered mobility counseling and incentives to encourage them to consider living in family public housing. Applicants will be able to state preferences for particular developments at which their race does not predominate, and moves by groups of residents will also be available.
In addition, the agreement calls for the creation of a fair housing center, which will be primarily responsible for much of the mobility counseling, as well as for offering clearinghouse-type services available to all low-income families and for conducting outreach to potential Section 8 landlords in non-poverty neighborhoods.
The settlement, which resolves allegations concerning segregation of black families in public housing in Miami-Dade County, was submitted to the Court in June. The suit was initially filed in 1987 against Miami-Dade County and amended in late 1990 to include HUD.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009