The Department of Housing and Urban Development is denying Los Angeles $80 million in federal funding on the grounds that the city is violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against people with disabilities, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO.
The cityâ€™s plan for the disbursement of Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership funds has been rejected, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a letter to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday evening.
â€śAs you have been notified time and again, the city is unlawfully discriminating against individuals with disabilities in its affordable housing program under federal accessibility laws, including the Fair Housing Act, and has refused to take the steps necessary to remedy this discrimination,â€ť Carson wrote.
Garcetti told POLITICO he was â€śdisappointedâ€ť in HUDâ€™s decision, adding that he was â€ślooking forward to meeting with Secretary Carson next week, so that I can speak directly to HUDâ€™s concerns and bring this matter to a resolution that will not displace already vulnerable Angelenos.â€ť
The city, Garcetti said in an email, had been â€śnegotiating in good faith to resolve HUDâ€™s concerns, most recently signing off on an offer to create 4,000 accessible housing units over the next ten years, and implementing a rigorous monitoring and compliance regime.â€ť
HUDâ€™s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in April notified Garcetti that an agency review of Los Angeles’s affordable housing program had determined that the city was not complying with the Fair Housing Actâ€™s accessibility requirements â€” a â€świdespread failureâ€ť HUD said it had first raised with L.A. in a January 2012 letter.
L.A. had recently â€śmade a variety of representations that it had begun to achieve compliance,â€ť FHEO Enforcement Director Lynn Grosso said in the April 1 letter to Garcetti.
â€śBased in part on these representations, HUD undertook additional investigation to determine whether these representations were accurate,â€ť Grosso wrote. â€śHUDâ€™s on-site compliance review of housing recently constructed or altered using funds received from HUD confirmed that they were not.â€ť
L.A. will have 60 days to comment and to revise or resubmit its plan, according to Carsonâ€™s letter today.
â€śThe city may also obtain approval of its Annual Action Plan once the city has entered a Voluntary Compliance Agreement that remedies its violations of federal accessibility requirements to HUDâ€™s satisfaction,â€ť Carson added.
This article was originally published at Politico on July 19, 2019. Reprinted with permission.Â
About the Author: Katy Oâ€™Donnell is a reporter for POLITICO.