Westchester Must Hire Consultant for Fair-Housing Study, Judge Rules

July 08, 2016
A federal judge on Friday ruled that Westchester County must hire a consultant to study barriers to fair housing in communities across one of the richest suburbs in the country.
     The decision came in response to a request by a federal monitor who has overseen the implementation of a 2009 consent decree signed by the county and the federal government. It required the county to build 750 units of affordable housing in 31 overwhelmingly white municipalities.
     The decree was the result of a legal settlement between the county and the Anti-Discrimination Center, a nonprofit group. In 2006, the group sued the county, saying that the county had lied when, while applying for federal housing money, it claimed to have complied with fair housing mandates. A federal judge ruled that the county had “utterly failed” to meet its obligations.
     In addition to the 750 units of housing, which the county is on track to build, the decree stipulated that the county also ensure that its municipalities stop using exclusionary zoning practices. The agreement required the county to submit a so-called “analysis of impediments” to affordable housing, saying Westchester should sue towns and villages, if necessary.