Westchester County Files Lawsuit Over $7.4M HUD Funds

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Westchester County has a lawsuit in federal court Friday to try to block the Department of Housing and Urban Development from reallocating $7.4 million in federal funds. Photo Credit: File Photo

Update 2 p.m.: U.S. District Judge Denise Cole denied a temporary injunction request by Westchester County to stop HUD from reallocating $7.4 million in funds, saying there was still time for the county to comply with the settlement, The Journal News reported.

HUD spokesperson Brian Sullivan told The Daily Voice Friday afternoon the department had not yet made a final decision to reallocate the funds. The funds must be allocated to Westchester or another community by September or else they will be lost, Sullivan said.

"For more than three years, HUD has attempted to work in good faith with the County to satisfy its civil rights obligations," a statement issued by Sullivan said. "Contrary to the County’s complaint, HUD is not making any final determination to reallocate $7.4 million in federal assistance to the County.  Rather, we are beginning a process of reallocating these resources to other communities should the County continue to fall short of its fair housing requirements.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Westchester County filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday to try to block the Department of Housing and Urban Development from reallocating $7.4 million in federal funds.

HUD previously threatened to reallocate the funds because it said the county has not complied with the Housing Settlement in addressing exclusionary zoning and source-of-income legislation.

“HUD is not allowed to make up its own rules for this money,” County Executive Robert Astorino said. “Westchester is entitled to fairness and due process just like every other community in the country. What makes matters worse is that HUD is hurting the very people it claims it is always trying to help. This money is designated for some of Westchester’s neediest residents including the homeless and those facing foreclosure. This is HUD behaving badly – both legally and morally – and the county, on a bi-partisan basis, is going to court to stop it.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled against the county in early April, saying it violated the terms of the Housing Settlement when Astorino vetoed a bill banning discrimination against renters for using public assistance, such as Section 8 vouchers, to pay rent.

County officials have repeatedly argued that local zoning laws are not exclusionary. Astorino recently called for the Board of Legislators to submit source-of-income legislation.

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Comments (12)

KC.Choi:

I still don't understand why the Fed feels the need to go after Westchester County, considering cost of living throughout this region is out of control. I don't live in the high wealth towns and, honestly, don't want to live in an area where the taxes are outrageous. Not sure why anyone in the low-or-moderate income would want to live their either.

fedupinny:

I would assume that as long as these are rentals and the rental prices are kept low because the State and Governments are supplementing them then why wouldn't they as they'd have access to better schools in most case.

Kyle Scott:

Did anyone ever mention returning the funds to the taxpayer?

silvrfox:

Fight the fight Mr. Astorino!

ProdigalInPa:

What a disaster. "exclusionary zoning"? What will they think of next? Don't worry you have developers who pull that - they'll find a wealthy area, put in for high density townhouses 200 units+ at a shot. Then, if the town doesn't go along, they sue (and win) because its "keeping out the lower income people". Right. Lower income people who can afford $350,000 - $450,000 condos. Makes you happy you worked real hard all your life to afford where you are or got to, and a bunch of "wanna be's" get it in a snap. Welcome to Obamarama. Socialist housing 101.

joelgon:

I thought the only property That had to comply with HUD laws were over 6 units and no-owner ocupied.
Not shure why its discrimination if a landlord decids he doesn't want to deal with Goverment. Its still a free country.

Personally I like section 8 renters. The money comes directly to my office.

rwmurphy:

Westchester county is wasting taxpayers money in fighting federal law. This hurts everyone across the board and is irresponsible.

stephen.mcgeady:

I spent over 22yrs in Military Service and it always makes me cringe when the US Gov't gets involved with anything. I agree 100% with jjnia,they will try to make the hard working people pay for their blunders.

MisterBill2:

I thought there was as bill introduced yesterday (which Astorino said he would sign) to comply with the terms of the agreement, which would prevent the funds from being reallocated?

jjinla:

Good for you, Astorino. HUD is way out of line in every case...forcing private landlords to do business with the gov't, destroying our zoning ordinances, withholding funds...flawed social engineering at the expense of hard working people at its best.

Kyle Scott:

Oh wonderful. A fight between two gov't entities. I'm paying the expenses for the plaintiff and the defendant (and the court costs). On top of it, the suit is about taxpayer money. Enough already.

cjmesq:

Rob, I hope and pray this suit did not go to a Clinton or Obama-appointed judge in White Plains District Court. If Westchester County gets a leftist judge, they will dismiss this in a nanosecond.

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