On April 3, 2013, a New Jersey advocacy organization aimed at advancing the interests of Latino communities filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, against the State of New Jersey. The complaint alleged that ...
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On April 3, 2013, a New Jersey advocacy organization aimed at advancing the interests of Latino communities filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, against the State of New Jersey. The complaint alleged that the State engaged in discriminatory housing practices in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act 1964 and the Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., and failed to affirmatively further fair housing. On April 23, 2013, the complaint was amended to add the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a complainant and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs as a respondent. The alleged violations occurred in relation to affordable housing opportunities for lower income households whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
On May 30, 2014, the parties entered into a settlement agreement. The State agreed to allocate additional funds in the amount of $215,000,000.00 to the nine counties most affected by Hurricane Sandy. The State agreed to prioritize families with children. It also agreed to provide $15,000,000.00 in tenant-based rental assistance prioritizing households at or below 30% of area median income. The State also agreed to review and reconsider its decisions on households previously deemed ineligible for the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program. RREM provides up to $150,000 to homeowners to restore their damaged homes, including rehabilitation, reconstruction, elevation, and/or mitigation activities. The State also agreed to special provisions concerning people with limited English proficiency, providing annual $2,000,000 funding until HUD closes its funds. It includes implementing an outreach and counseling service. As part of providing the service, the State agreed to provide training and develop a language bank.
The State agreed to find a firm to ensure its compliance within sixty days of the effective date of the agreement. The State also agreed to provide quarterly reports to HUD and the complainants on the progress of the implementation of the agreement. The term of the agreement is six months until after the closeout of HUD funds to New Jersey. Zhandos Kuderin - 11/19/2014