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Editorial:  The Housing Bill

October 01, 1998
THE FEDERAL government now spends $28 billion a year on housing subsidies for lower-income people. The amount is large but nowhere near enough to meet the need as federally defined, and how to allocate the aid -- or the shortage of aid -- is one of the major issues remaining in this Congress. Republicans want to give local officials the right to extend the subsidies to upwardly mobile lower-middle-income families even at the possible expense of the poor. The administration and congressional Democrats are willing to do a little of this, but not as much. When the same dispute arose in the last Congress, the legislation died. The giant programs have been administered on a year-to-year basis since. 

DOJ reaches settlement with housing authority

September 30, 1998
The Milford (Connecticut) Housing Authority will follow through on a plan to acquire and/or build twenty-eight units of new family public housing, under an agreement with the Justice Department and the NAACP-New Haven Branch.
     The plan will settle lawsuits that alleged that the Housing Authority's cancellation of a $3.5 million federally-subsidized scattered site housing program violated the Fair Housing Act's prohibition against race and national origin discrimination. A significant proportion of the beneficiaries of the scrapped housing program were projected to be African American or Hispanic. 

High court to hear student harassment case

September 29, 1998
The Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether educators violate a federal law when they fail to stop students from sexually harassing other students.
     The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that barred a lawsuit against a Georgia school district and school officials over the harassment of a girl by a fellow fifth-grader. 

19 black colleges receive HUD grants

September 22, 1998
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $6.5 million in grants to help 19 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) address housing needs and revitalize distressed areas in their communities.
     Cuomo announced the grants at a conference sponsored by the White House Initiative on HBCUs in observance of National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, September 20-26.
      President Clinton, who in 1993 signed an Executive Order expanding the role of HBCUs in national affairs, said, "HBCUs are a source of great pride and a symbol of economic, social and political growth." 

Panel urges examination of white privilege

September 18, 1998
President Clinton's advisers on race, completing their yearlong mission, have concluded that Americans must confront ``this country's history of white privilege'' before its many races can begin to get along.
     The advisory board was urging in its final report today that Clinton take the lead in educating people about that history and how an inferior status was assigned to people of color.
     "It is, we believe, essential to recall the facts of racial domination. ... We as a nation need to understand that whites tend to benefit, either unknowingly or consciously, from this country's history of white privilege,'' the report said.
     Clinton, who was to get the report in a meeting with the board today, planned to use the board's findings as a reference for his own report on how the country can prepare for the day when no racial group is a majority of the U.S. population.

EEOC finds discrimination at Freddie Mac

September 03, 1998
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has concluded there is widespread discrimination against black employees by Freddie Mac, a federally chartered mortgage underwriting company.
     Acting on a complaint filed by Tony Morgan, Freddie Mac's former director of corporate relations, the EEOC issued a finding recently that said the publicly held company has created a ``hostile work environment'' and urged swift corrective action to head off another lawsuit.
     The EEOC filed suit against Freddie Mac last year, but a federal judge dismissed the suit after finding that the company had taken sufficient remedial action.
     But EEOC lawyers said other employees have come forward since then with evidence of a pattern of discrimination against black employees. 

DOJ settles Chicago condo construction case

August 27, 1998
A Northern Illinois development company will correct design problems in condominiums that are inaccessible to persons with disabilities, under a settlement reached with the Justice Department.
      The agreement, filed together with a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago, resolves allegations that Ranch Development, Inc., of Orland Park, Illinois, violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by failing to include particular features in condominiums which would make the units accessible to persons with disabilities. Under the FHA, multi-family housing complexes with four or more units must contain, among other things, accessible routes, doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, reachable thermostats, and bathroom walls equipped with reinforcements so that people with disabilities could install grab bars.

Amtrak sued for race discrimination

August 21, 1998
A group of Amtrak managers filed suit yesterday against the national passenger railroad, alleging that top management there steers African American managers and professionals into jobs with limited opportunity for advancement.
     The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asks for an immediate end to what it says is racial discrimination at the railroad.  The plaintiffs also are seeking more than $100 million in back pay and damages on behalf of approximately 3,500 black employees.
     Paul C. Sprenger, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said racial discrimination and a hostile work environment have existed at Amtrak for more than a decade. Sprenger said the suit was filed on behalf of 700 current managerial employees, 300 former employees and about 2,500 African Americans who were turned down for jobs.   

FCC investigating advertiser discrimination

August 20, 1998
Federal officials have begun an investigation into whether advertisers have systematically discriminated against radio and TV stations that are owned by minorities or attract large African American and Hispanic audiences.
     For years, minority broadcasters have complained that advertisers consistently pass over their stations or pay far less for commercial air time than on stations reaching primarily white audiences. Although minority broadcasters have offered anecdotal evidence of discrimination, no government agency has previously attempted to study whether a pattern exists.


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