In response to an administrative complaint Relman Colfax filed on behalf of its client Texas Housers, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued a historic determination that the State of Texas and its General Land Office (GLO) discriminated on the basis of race and national origin in the allocation of more than $4 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds designed to mitigate the effects of disaster recovery.
HUD’s March 4, 2022 determination found that GLO allocated funds in a way that disproportionately disadvantaged Black and Latinos residents of areas affected by disasters in Texas, without substantial justifications for its actions. The determination noted that communities like Houston, Corpus Christi, Port Arthur and Beaumont, all with high percentages of Black and Latino residents, were excluded from funding.
“The Department finds that the design and operation of the Competition discriminated on the basis of race and national origin. GLO utilized two scoring criteria that substantially and predictably disadvantaged minority residents, with particular disparate outcomes for Black residents.”
The Houston Chronicle reports that, HUD has delayed allocation of funds to GLO because of concerns about the criteria for funding allocations.
The Title VI determination warned the GLO that a failure to enter into an agreement to resolve the matter could result in federal administrative action (such as loss of the federal funds) and legal enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Texas Housers said this about the decision: “Let’s be clear. What the federal investigation found is that the practices of the General Land Office unlawfully excluded vast numbers of Texans of color from the benefit of federal funds the State administers for disaster assistance on the basis of their race.” Doris Brown, representing Houston’s Northeast Action Collective, describing the still unresolved consequences of flooding in Houston, said, “We feel justified by the findings of HUD.”
A copy of the HUD determination can be found here.
The Relman Colfax team includes Sara Pratt and Michael Allen.