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CUOMO SAYS SAN FRANCISCO AREA DEVELOPER PAYS BLACK COUPLE $71,000 TO SETTLE COMPLAINT OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON - One of America's largest housing developers will pay a black couple $71,000 to settle a complaint accusing the firm of refusing to sell the couple a San Francisco Bay area home, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today.
Cuomo said that Centex Homes, a division of Centex Real Estate Corporation, agreed in an enforcement agreement with HUD to settle a housing discrimination complaint filed with HUD in 1997 by Oakland, CA residents Sylvia Myles and Bruce Soublet. Centex admits no wrongdoing in the settlement.
The married couple said they were given conflicting information by Centex representatives and felt they were being discouraged from buying a home in Centex's Five Canyons upscale home development in Castro Valley. They said they wanted to move to the area so their young daughter, Amber, could grow up in a safe neighborhood with good schools.
"On this anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, this settlement should serve as a reminder that HUD will continue to honor his memory - not just with words, but with action," Cuomo said. "We will never come together as one nation unless we can learn to live together as one people in fulfillment of Dr. King's dream."
Congress paid tribute to Dr. King by passing the Fair Housing Act to outlaw housing discrimination just six days after his assassination in April 1968.
As part of the agreement announced today, Centex Homes also agreed to adhere to the Fair Housing Act and to have its Northern California sales staff trained about the Fair Housing Act.
The Fair Housing Act bars housing discrimination on the basis 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.
Since 1993, HUD has received nearly 44,000 fair housing complaints and has helped obtain over $150 million in settlements and court judgments in housing discrimination cases. In 1998 HUD also obtained commitments from lenders to make over $3 billion in home mortgage loans to minorities and low-income families to settle accusations of housing discrimination.
As part of his One America Initiative, President Clinton directed Cuomo to double enforcement efforts brought against perpetrators of housing discrimination by the year 2001. HUD has already doubled its enforcement actions to a rate of 60 to 70 a month, compared with less than 30 enforcement actions per month during the Clinton Administration's first term.
People who believe they've been harmed by housing discrimination can file complaints with HUD by calling 1-800-669-9777.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009