MICAH Fair Housing Complaints to HUD
5/27/16 HUD ANNOUNCES AGREEMENTS WITH MINNEAPOLIS AND ST. PAUL TO FURTHER HOUSING CHOICE AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR TWIN CITIES RESIDENTS
HUD announced agreements with the City of Minneapolis and the City of St. Paul to further housing choice and neighborhood opportunities in the two cities and the surrounding region. The agreements will serve as the foundation to promote housing opportunities and comprehensive regional housing planning that address residential integration and segregation within Minneapolis, St. Paul and the Twin Cities metro area. Read the Minneapolis agreement. Read the St. Paul agreement. Read the full press release.
The agreement with Minneapolis resolves a complaint filed with HUD in 2015 by the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing, (MICAH) the Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization, the Whittier Alliance, and the Folwell Neighborhood Association. The agreement with St. Paul resolves a complaint filed with HUD in 2015 by the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH). The organizations claimed that the cities, which receive HUD community development and affordable housing funds, failed to comply with all of HUD's civil rights requirements, including the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. All parties concur that the settlement announced today resolves the complaints.
11/5/14 MICAH, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and Richfield file complaint with HUD charging that Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities have caused housing segregation
A coalition of Minneapolis’s three most diverse suburbs and an interfaith affordable housing organization filed a complaint today (11/5/14) with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charging that State agencies are violating the Fair Housing Act. The cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and Richfield, and the organization, the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), contend that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities have caused housing segregation and unequal opportunity across the Twin Cities region. Specifically, the complainants say, the agencies are intentionally concentrating affordable rental homes, in which minority families frequently live, in segregated, “low-opportunity” neighborhoods disconnected from quality schools, dependable transportation, or living-wage jobs. The State’s actions diminish quality housing options for everyone who lives in the Twin Cities area, the complaint explains. And they are unjustly withholding from the entire region the benefits of diverse, prosperous communities that offer opportunity for all.
The complaint is the first of two expected to be filed. MICAH is also serving as a complainant in the second filing, alongside three Minneapolis neighborhood groups: the Whittier Alliance, the Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization, and Folwell Neighborhood Organization. The second complaint alleges many of the same Fair Housing Act violations, but identifies shortcomings within racially concentrated areas of poverty in the central cities and names Minneapolis and Saint Paul as respondents.
“Equal opportunity and diverse, thriving communities are crucial to our region’s prosperity in the 21st century, said Jeffrey Lunde, Mayor of Brooklyn Park. “When it comes to building a successful region, we’re all in it together. But the State’s actions have ignored that reality and violated the nation’s fair housing laws by segregating families of color overwhelmingly in the same few neighborhoods and disconnecting them from opportunity. Our complaint is designed to correct that, in ways that will benefit all the people of our region.”
Sue Watlov Phillips, Executive Director of MICAH, and Reverend Dr. Arthur Agnew, who sits on the organization’s board, said: “Our decision to bring this complaint is rooted in faith, as well as the values of our state and nation. Our 75 member congregations and supporting organizations represent a wide array of faith perspectives—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. We believe God intends for all people to be decently housed and to have access to greater opportunity through access to excellent schools, dependable transportation, and living-wage jobs that allow them to support their families. We also believe that the color of your skin, where you were born, or the accent you have should have no bearing on where you can choose to live. Through the resolution of this complaint, we seek to make that vision—which is shared by the vast majority of Minnesotans—a reality in our region.”
The cities filing the complaint are among the most diverse in the region. “We’re proud of the vibrant diversity of our city,” said Tim Wilson, Mayor of Brooklyn Center, “But it is harder and harder to preserve that diversity, and the benefits that flow from it, when the State is perpetuating segregation instead of fair housing.” According to Curt Boganey, Brooklyn Center’s City Manager, the complaint will help the city to “continue producing a fair share of high-quality affordable housing for its residents.” But if state authorities do not obey federal civil rights laws, segregation runs the risk of overwhelming the city’s best efforts.
The complaints are being brought under the Fair Housing Act, a landmark civil rights law passed in 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale was a chief sponsor of the Act, and his call for “truly integrated and balanced living patterns” still resonates today. The law prohibits discrimination and segregation in housing, and requires that States and municipalities who choose to receive funding from the federal government take proactive steps to further fair housing.
“This is a moral and legal obligation, but also a matter of government accountability,” said Debbie Goettel, mayor of Richfield. The State receives millions of dollars in federal HUD funding for community and economic development, but continues to violate the responsibility to protect fair housing that comes with those funds.
The complainants are represented by Michael Allen, a partner in the civil rights law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax. Myron Orfield serves as local counsel.
Contact: Sue Watlov Phillips, Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing, 612-590-9577 firstname.lastname@example.org or Aaron Parker, 612-327-1729, email@example.com
Jamie Verbrugge, City of Brooklyn Park, 763-493-8002, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Devich, City of Richfield, 612-861-9702, email@example.com
Curt Boganey, City of Brooklyn Center, 763-569-3300, firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the complaint, click Complaint_Final_Filed_2014_11_10.pdf
3/20/15 Press Release: Minnesota State Legislators Support HUD Fair Housing Complaint
MICAH issued a press release today (3/20/15) listing a number of Minnesota legislators who have recently indicated their support for the HUD fair housing complaint filed by the Metropolitan Interfaith Affordable Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), and the cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and Richfield, against several state agencies.
The complaint was filed last November. It asserts that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Metropolitan Council have perpetuated housing segregation in the Twin Cities region, concentrating racial minorities and families with low incomes in a handful of suburbs.
The entire press release, including support letters from legislators, can be read here.
3/31/15 MICAH, Folwell Neighborhood Association, Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization, and Whittier Alliance Neighborhood Association file complaint with HUD charging that the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are violating the Fair Housing Act and other federal civil rights laws
A coalition of Minneapolis neighborhood and housing organizations filed a complaint Monday, March 31, with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), charging that the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are violating the Fair Housing Act and other federal civil rights laws. The Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), Folwell Neighborhood Association, Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization, and Whittier Alliance Neighborhood Association all contend that the region’s two largest cities have contributed to housing segregation and unequal opportunity across the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Press release is here and the complaint here .
This is in addition to the complaint filed earlier by Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Richfield, and the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH) charging that Minnesota State agencies are violating the Fair Housing Act.
Comments from the Press
Pioneer Press 8/17/15: Twin Cities suburbs need more affordable housing, Met Council says www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_28654237/twin-cities-area-needs-more-affordable-housing-report
Pioneer Press 7/17/15: Met Council: More residents in poverty in suburbs than in urban core www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_28502377/met-counc...
StarTribune 1/18/15: Facing the facts on affordable housing in the Twin Cities www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/288886771.h...
StarTribune 1/11/15: Where to put affordable housing? Met Council tackles plan this week www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/288212361....
MPR News 11/10/14: Twin Cities suburbs file housing complaint against state www.mprnews.org/story/2014/11/10/housing-complaing
StarTribune 10/31/14: Suburbs feel shorted on funds for affordable housing www.startribune.com/local/south/281132522.html
StarTribune 9/20/14: Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center accuse state of fair-housing violations www.startribune.com/local/north/275901391.html?pag...
StarTribune 9/29/14: Find a fairer balance in metro's affordable housing www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/277519181.h...