An investigative article by the Washington Post article—published on May 11, 2022 and titled “Black communities are last in line for disaster planning in Texas”—covers allegations by the firm’s client, Texas Housers, that the Texas General Land Office (“GLO”) discriminated on the basis of race and national origin in the distribution of nearly $4 billion in disaster recovery funds appropriated by Congress over the last several years.
With Sara Pratt taking the lead, Relman Colfax filed an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) in July 2021, alleging GLO had violated GLO violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1987. In March 2022, HUD found Title VI and Section 109 violations and required GLO to amend its funding programs to eliminate the discriminatory effects.
After chronicling the impact on a specific neighborhood in Houston, the Washington Post article notes that GLO also denied grants to the predominantly Black and Hispanic cities of Port Arthur, Beaumont and Corpus Christi as well as Jefferson and Nueces counties.
Relying on Sara’s deep knowledge of HUD and its disaster recovery programs, the article notes that there is long-standing division among HUD staff over enforcing civil rights violations when making funding decisions. It goes on to quote Sara as saying: “There is deep disagreement internally. The Secretary’s job is to resolve disputes like this.”
HUD continues its efforts to bring GLO into voluntary compliance with federal law.