Our job is to fight housing discrimination every day, but last week was so full of public events fighting segregation that we had to share it with you. We are going the share the week flashback style by starting with this past Friday and then running through the the rest of week starting with last Monday.
Friday, December 6, 2019. Long Island Housing Services was invited to speak at the 1,000+ person lunch of elected officials, business leaders, and nonprofit professionals at the Vision Long Island 2019 Smart Growth Summit. These were our prepared remarks:
If you happened to see a Newsday investigation about testing for housing discrimination, then you know what the core of Long Island Housing Services work is. You might have recently seen some of our cases in the media such as the one against German American Settlement League in Yaphank, which built a housing development on a former Nazi summer camp, and required all home buyers to be of direct German descent.
Currently we receive about $300,000 annually from HUD to provide a broad swath of fair housing services, including to investigate fair housing complaints; provide community education; and do testing in four real estate industries; home sales, insurance, lending, and home rental.
To construct a budget to adequately investigate and test just real estate agencies on Long Island, we looked at the geographic size of Long Island; the population of both counties; and the sheer number of agencies and agents. Stripping away all our other fair housing services to just focus on adequately investigating and testing real estate agencies, would require a budget of at least $1 million per year.
That $300,000 per year that Long Island Housing Services receives to cover all Fair Housing services for Long Island ends on February 14, 2020 — without even the application for the next HUD grant in sight. Now Congress has already appropriated the funds to continue providing those grants, the application just has not come out from HUD. Even if that application was released today, we would be lucky to receive those funds by June 2020, which means we will have to ramp down our fair housing activities for those intervening months. Please call your representatives.
Monday, December 2, 2019 New York State Attorney General Letitia James invited Long Island Housing Services to participate in a small round table with elected officials, business leaders, and nonprofit professionals to fight housing discrimination in New York State. We were able to talk about the efforts that the Attorney General is already taking to protect civil rights in New York and other steps that are needed to fight segregation on Long Island. More at Newsday.
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 Long Island Housing Services attended the meeting of the Nassau County stakeholder group to inform the Analysis of Impediments to help Nassau County determine how it will use HUD funds to affirmatively further fair housing. This meeting is part of an ongoing process that Nassau County has had to get feedback from government agencies and nonprofits on how to best use HUD funds.
Also last week, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran invited Long Island Housing Services to speak at her press conference announcing the increased steps that they are taking to fight segregation. While at the press conference, County Executive Curran invited us to join their Fair Housing Advisory Board. More.
Wednesday, December 4, 2019. Long Island Housing Services took part in two Suffolk County government civil rights events. First, we were honored to be invited by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to attend the signing of the bill approving infrastructure funding for Matinecock Court affordable housing complex in East Northport the development will include eight rental units for eligible individuals as determined by the Office for People with Development Disabilities (OPWDD) and four affordable homeownership units as per Suffolk County’s Housing Opportunities Programs.
Also on Wednesday, Long Island Housing Services attended the regular monthly Suffolk County Disabilities Advisory Board where we reported on how the state and county civil rights enforcement actions flowing from the Newsday housing discrimination investigation will benefit all protected classes, including person with disabilities.
You can personally underwrite the cost of investigating and filing Fair Housing complaints by donating to Long Island Housing Services to keep fighting housing discrimination on Long Island year-round.
About Long Island Housing Services
Founded in 1969, Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (www.LIFairHousing.org) is a private, nonprofit HUD-qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organization and a federally certified, approved Housing Counseling agency. LIHS’ mission is the elimination of unlawful housing discrimination and promotion of decent and affordable housing through advocacy and education.
Why should I support Long Island Housing Services?
In recent years, Long Island Housing Services has won more victories for Long Island families by stopping government abuse of minority tenants in Mastic Beach and wiping out vestiges of Nazi Era prejudice in Yaphank, and fighting the sexual harassment of minors in Patchogue.
A copy of our most recently filed financial report is available from the Charities Registry on the New York State Attorney General’s website (www.charitiesnys.com) or, upon request, by contacting the New York State Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10005, or us at 640 Johnson Avenue, Suite 8, Bohemia, NY 11716 or www.LIFairHousing.org. You also may obtain information on charitable organizations from the New York State Office of the Attorney General at www.charitiesnys.com or (212) 416-8401.