In a July 13 letter, HUD notified Westchester County, NY that it has rejected certification that the county is affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH). According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, HUD is also disapproving the County's FY11 Annual Action Plan to the Consolidated Plan, resulting in a halt to the receipt of more than $7 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME, and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds.
In a statement, County Executive Robert Astorino wrote that HUD's demands "constitute unprecedented bureaucratic overreaching" and trampled local zoning rights.
This rejection follows a lawsuit filed by the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York (ADC) in 2006, which asserted that the County's certification to HUD that it was affirmatively furthering fair housing was false. The ADC won their suit in February 2009. In April 2009, HUD rejected the accuracy of the county's AFFH certification and, having rejected a revised Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) submitted in July 2010, ordered specified remedies for the county to take in December 2010. Westchester submitted another revised AI on April 13, 2011, which was rejected by HUD in May specifically for deficiencies regarding two terms of the court settlement:
- Providing plans to promote and secure passage of source of income protections. Legislation had been approved earlier by the County Board of Legislators, but was vetoed by the previous County Executive.
- Promoting plans to overcome municipalities' exclusionary zoning practices. HUD called for a legal strategy to identify specific zoning issues the County's municipalities that the County will challenge, along with a list of steps the County will take if municipalities do not enact changes within three months of receiving notice.
According to HUD's July 13 letter, the revised AI, which includes more changes made on July 11, still does not meet the settlement's terms for an acceptable AI.