Federal Judge seeks accord in HUD housing bias case in Baltimore

  • Housing Projects Do NOT have to be ALL in Low Income Minority Neighborhoods
Saying an "agreed resolution" was preferable to more protracted litigation, a federal judge named a former Maryland attorney general and a former state legislator Tuesday to help craft a settlement in a decadelong housing discrimination case. But if an agreement isn't reached, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis said that he will hold hearings in July to decide a remedy for his finding this month that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development violated fair housing laws by failing to take a regional approach to the desegregation of public housing in Baltimore. The Housing Settlement Advisory Panel will be led by former Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs and former state Del. Anne S. Perkins Garbis set July 18 as the date for a bench trial to determine what HUD should do to remedy the effects of its past actions. "There is a chance for the parties, by agreement, to take a significant step towards a greater degree of racial fairness and societal equity." In pushing the parties toward a possible agreement, Garbis is following a pattern in similar housing cases around the country, in which a settlement was reached after a judge had issued a finding of liability but before the court mandated a solution. The Baltimore case began in 1995, when the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of the city's African-American public housing residents, contending that the city and the federal government failed to dismantle the segregated system of public housing they put in place in the city in the 1930s and 1940s. [more] and [more]