HUD Upholds Finding of Discrimination by Texas in CDBG-DR MIT Funding; NLIHC and other Housing and Civil Rights Organizations Urge HUD to Reach Consent Agreement or Withhold Funds

NLIHC and nine other national housing and civil rights organizations sent a letter to HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge on May 20 expressing appreciation for HUD’s decision to uphold the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity’s (FHEO) finding that the Texas General Land Office (GLO) discriminated against communities of color in Southeast Texas in its distribution of $2.1 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Mitigation (CDBG-DR MIT) funding (see Memo, 3/14). The letter also urges HUD to require that the Texas GLO resolve the concerns of Texas Housers and the Northeast Action Collective by reaching a Voluntary Consent Agreement (VCA) within 60 days. If a VCA is not reached, NLIHC and advocates urge HUD to suspend funding to Texas and refer the discrimination case to the U.S. Department of Justice.

HUD’s civil rights determination was made in response to one of four complaints about the Texas GLO’s program filed with HUD’s FHEO. The determination found that the state had discriminated against non-white communities in Southeast Texas when distributing over $2.1 billion in much-needed disaster mitigation funding, a portion of which was specifically dedicated to areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The funds in question were to be distributed through a GLO-established competition that penalized areas with larger overall and larger non-white populations and directed funds to rural counties with larger white populations. HUD’s determination that the Texas GLO’s program was discriminatory was the result of an administrative complaint filed in June 2021 by NLIHC partners Texas Housers and the Northeast Action Collective. NLIHC issued a statement in March following the announcement of HUD’s determination calling it a “historic decision.”

The lowest-income and most marginalized survivors are often hit hardest by disasters but receive the least amount of assistance to recover or prepare for future disasters. However, as the letter makes clear, HUD has the power to rectify such inequities. “HUD has the authority – and past precedent – to hold the Texas GLO accountable for its violations of civil rights laws,” explains the letter. “HUD should consider determining that the certifications by Texas in its action plan that the state is complying with Title VI is false, and therefore withhold funds. Failure by HUD to take such meaningful actions to ensure that Texas complies with its civil rights obligations will send a message to Texas, and to other grantees, that they may ignore these obligations without consequence.”

Read the letter at: