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CUOMO ANNOUNCES HUD AND HOMEOWNER GROUP SETTLE SAN FRANCISCO RACIAL COVENANT COMPLAINT
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that HUD has reached agreement with the Lakeside Property Owners Association in San Francisco to remove a covenant in its bylaws that barred non-whites from living in the subdivision.
"These kinds of covenants are a sad legacy of the past, when outrageous and ugly racial discrimination was common and accepted," Cuomo said. "Today the Fair Housing Act makes such racial restrictions illegal."
The covenant, placed in the bylaws of the Lakeside Property Owners Association in 1939, stated: "No person other than one of the White Caucasian Race shall rent, lease, use or occupy any building or lot in said tract...". The covenant provided an exemption for servants.
HUD uncovered no evidence that the racial restrictions had ever been enforced. However, two residents - Dr. Mark Blank and Yumi Blank -- complained because the restrictions remained in the homeowners' association bylaws, which are given to all residents and potential homebuyers in the subdivision.
The covenant was originally placed in the Association's bylaws by the developers, the Stoneson brothers, who also developed Stonestown shopping area and other San Francisco area developments.
Cuomo said HUD will be able to continue moving aggressively against housing discrimination as the result of an increase in the budget of its Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity from $30 million in the 1998 fiscal year to $40 million in the year that began Oct. 1. HUD began a crackdown against housing discrimination last year at the request of President Clinton.
The Fair Housing Act bars housing discrimination on account of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status and national origin. The Act covers the sale, rental, financing and advertising of almost all housing in the nation. Fair housing investigations are conducted by HUD investigators, state and city agencies working with HUD, and private fair housing groups that receive HUD funds.
People who believe they have been harmed by housing discrimination can file complaints with HUD by calling 1-800-669-9777 or by filing a complaint with HUD over the Internet.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009