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The Road Home: A Timeline

Posted on 07. Dec, 2011 by

NOVEMBER 2008 CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS FILE FEDERAL LAWSUIT IN POST-KATRINA HOUSING DISCRIMINATION CASE

Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA (November 12, 2008) Today civil rights and fair housing groups filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and the Louisiana Recovery Authority. The suit alleges that the Road Home, Louisiana’s Hurricane Katrina recovery program, discriminates against African-American homeowners in New Orleans.

The Road Home, an $11 billion federally-funded program, is the largest housing redevelopment program in U.S. history. The suit is being filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of five individuals representing a class of more than 20,000 African-American homeowners and two fair housing organizations, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and the National Fair Housing Alliance.

  • Read the full press release
  • Download a copy of the complaint
  • Listen to a recording of the press conference (temporarily unavailable)
  • Watch a video of the November 12th press conference
  • Read the City Business article “Lawsuit filed against Road Home with allegations of discrimination against blacks” here

JULY 2010 FAIR HOUSING DIRECTOR URGES CONGRESS TO ADDRESS GOV’T SPONSORED DISCRIMINATION

On Thursday, July 29, 2010, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) Executive Director James Perry testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.  Perry reported that in the Gulf Coast region since Katrina, “the most egregious cases of discrimination have been perpetuated by government actors entrusted to serve the very communities that they have discriminated against.”

Perry cited numerous examples of how discriminatory actions and policies on the part of government have “stunted recovery for scores of thousands of Gulf Coast residents,” particularly people of color, people with disabilities, families with children, and low-income residents.  For example, “rather than a Road Home, many black homeowners have found a road leading to despair, inequity and discrimination” because of the racially discriminatory Road Home grant calculation formula.  Perry also pointed to discriminatory actions and policies on the part of FEMA, St. Bernard Parish, the State of Louisiana, and the Housing Authority of New Orleans in the five years since Katrina.

  • Read the Gannett article “House Weighs Fair Housing Act Changes” here
  • Read the entire press release here
  • Read Perry’s testimony here
  • Listen to audio of Perry’s testimony here
  • Read the Times Picayune article “Bias still a problem for housing advocates; even government does it” from HUD’s fair housing conference the previous week here

AUGUST 2010 FEDERAL JUDGE RULES THAT ROAD HOME PROGRAM IS LIKELY DISCRIMINATORY; NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION URGING THE STATE TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION

Last week, the New Orleans City Council unanimously adopted a resolution urging “the State of Louisiana immediately to take appropriate actions to implement the U.S. District Court ruling” issued by the honorable Judge Kennedy in August regarding the discrimination inherent to Louisiana’s Road Home Program.  GNOFHAC sent a copy of the resolution to the state and to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan because they have the ability to fix the Road Home program at any time for both future and past participants.  The state of Louisiana and HUD should use any remaining Road Home money to help families affected by the discriminatory formula get back into their homes.

On August 16, a federal court judge ruled that the Road Home housing program is likely discriminatory.  With approximately 150,000 participants, the program is the largest single housing program ever undertaken by the federal government.   It was designed to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Judge Kennedy enjoined the program from using its discriminatory formula.  His ruling will insure that future grant recipients are treated fairly. However, Judge Kennedy believes that the law doesn’t allow him to help families who have already received Road Home grants.  GNOFHAC asked a federal appeals court to consider whether or not Kennedy can help the scores of thousands of families who have already received discriminatory grants from the program.

  • Read the nola.com article “Road Home’s grant calculations discriminate against black homeowners, federal judge rules” here.
  • Read the Washington Post article “Uneven Katrina recovery efforts often offered the most help to the most affluent” here.
  • Watch the CNBC segment “Rocky Road Home” here
  • Read Jarvis DeBerry’s editorial “How Road Home did a number on values” here
  • Read the Miller-McCune article “No Port After the Storm” here

SEPTEMBER 2010 FEDERAL APPEALS COURT ISSUES INJUNCTION IN FAIR HOUSING CENTER’S ROAD HOME CASE

On Thursday, September 22, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an injunction protecting remaining funds from the Road Home Program.  The injunction prevents then State from expending funds while the plaintiffs put on evidence that the formula used by Louisiana and HUD has had a discriminatory effect.  The Court also partially granted the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center’s request for expedited consideration of the case in part.  It is our hope that the ruling represents an opportunity for all homeowners to receive grants based on a non-discriminatory formula.

  • Read David Hammer’s nola.com article “Road Home Could be Smoothed by Court Rulings” here
  • Read the full press release here.
  • Read the court order here.
  • Read the nola.com article “Unused Road Home money is frozen” here.
  • Read the nola.com article “Road Home grants to resume; Judge clarifies order…” here

JULY 2011 CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS SETTLE HURRICANE KATRINA HOUSING DISCRIMINATION CASE AGAINST HUD AND LOUISIANA

Today, African-American homeowners and two civil rights organizations announced a settlement in a post-Hurricane Katrina housing discrimination lawsuit brought against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the State of Louisiana regarding the “Road Home” program.

The suit alleged that the formula used to allocate grants to homeowners through the Road Home program – the single largest housing recovery program in U.S. history – had a discriminatory impact on thousands of African-American homeowners.  Road Home program data show that African-Americans were more likely than whites to have their Road Home grants based upon the much lower pre-storm market value of their homes, rather than the estimated cost to repair damage.

For example, one African-American plaintiff whose rebuilding grant was based upon pre-storm value received a $1,400 grant from the State to rebuild her home; but she would have received a grant of $150,000 had her rebuilding grant been based on the estimated cost of damage to the home.  These types of shortfalls played a key role in slowing down the recovery effort.  Under the terms of the settlement, HUD and the State of Louisiana will direct additional funds to individuals in heavily-affected parishes whose grants were based upon pre-storm value.

  • Read the full press release and terms of the settlement here
  • Read the nola.com article “Road Home Settlement Will Benefit Nearly 1,500 Homeowners” here
  • Read the Washington Post article “HUD to Pay $62 Million to LA Homeowners to Settle Road Home Lawsuit” here
  • Read the AP article “HUD Settles Suit Over Road Home Program” here
  • Read the City Business article “Road Home Settlement Leaves Some Without Closure” here
  • Read the article on BlackAmericaWeb.com “Road Home Suit Results in $60 Million Settlement” here
  • Read the Louisiana Journal article “HUD Settles with Hundreds of LA Homeowners in Road Home Dispute” here
  • Read the BET article “Hud Reaches $62 Million Settlement with Louisiana Homeowners” here
  • Read the nola.com editorial “Road Home Finally Gets Shorter for Some Recipients” here
  • Read Congressman Cedric Richmond’s statement  here
  • Read the New York Times editorial “Fairer Treatment for Hurricane Katrina’s Victims” here
  • Read the Times Picayune editorial “Leave No Road Home Homeowner Behind” here

Read the settlement fact sheet and take an eligibility quizhere

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