In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Congress appropriated funds under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to mitigate against future natural disasters. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated more than $4 billion to Texas, and the governor designated the General Land Office (“GLO”) to administer those funds.
On September 21, 2021, Relman Colfax filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the Town of Brookline, New Hampshire, its Planning Board, and its Selectboard discriminated on the basis of familial status, race and national origin—in violation of the Fair Housing Act—when they resisted the development of an 80-unit affordable “workforce housing” development proposed by Brookline Opportunities, LLC. The Town is 93% White, with very small African-American and Latino populations, has a high per household median income, and very few rental units
On January 19, 2021, Relman Colfax and its co-counsel filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against the Town of Fairfield (Connecticut) on behalf of subsidiaries of Newport Healthcare seeking to open two group homes for young adults experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma and related mental health disabilities. The amended complaint alleges that Fairfield officials violated the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Connecticut Fair Housing Act by withholding necessary approvals for more than two years and preventing the opening of the homes.
This lawsuit, brought on behalf of an organization and two individuals against HUD challenging its delay of the Small Area Fair Market Rent pilot program, secured a decision allowing poor families in major markets around the country to immediately use rental subsidies to move to higher-opportunity areas.
In 2016, Relman Colfax settled the largest affordable housing accessibility case in the nation’s history, securing an important victory for people with disabilities in Los Angeles and adding at least 4,000 affordable and highly accessible housing units in the city. The firm separately settled with the City's Community Redevelopment Agency in 2017.
In this Fair Housing Act case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a real estate agent could be held liable for disability discrimination.
Federal court holds fifth-largest private apartment developer in the country liable for a “continuing violation” of federal accessibility requirements. Settlement required retrofitting of 12,300 apartment units at 82 apartment complexes in 11 states, with a total settlement value of nearly $15 million.
After federal court granted summary judgment for the firm’s client, case settled, requiring County to spend nearly $52 million in County funds to develop at least 750 affordable housing units in high-opportunity neighborhoods.
M. Allen & A. Bellows, “The Fair Housing Imperative to Address the Displacement Crisis,” in Federal Bar Association’s Civil Rights Insider (Winter 2018), at pp. 5-6.
M. Allen, “Speaking Truth to Power: Enhancing Community Engagement in the Assessment of Fair Housing Process,” in Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (2017)
M. Allen & J. Crook, "More Than Just Race: Proliferation of Protected Groups and the Increasing Influence of the Act,” in The Fight for Fair Housing (G. Squires, ed.) (2018)
M. Allen, “HUD’s New AFFH Rule: The Importance of the Ground Game,” in THE DREAM REVISITED (NYU Furman Center, September 2015)
M. Allen, J. Crook & J. Relman, Assessing HUD's Disparate Impact Rule: A Practitioner's Perspective, 49 Harv. C.R-C.L. L. Rev 155 (Spring 2014)
R. Schwemm & M. Allen, For the Rest of Their Lives: Seniors and the Fair Housing Act, 90 Iowa L. Rev. 121 (2004)
S. Pratt & M. Allen, Addressing Community Opposition to Affordable Housing Development: A Fair Housing Toolkit, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (2004)
In the Media
- Governing Magazine, 05.17.2022
- McKnight's Senior Living, 12.11.2020
- Connecticut Post, 02.25.2020
- Chicago Sun-Times, 05.14.2018
- Washington Post, 06.02.2017
- New York Times, 11.23.2016
- Los Angeles Times, 09.01.2016
J.D., University of Virginia
B.S., Georgetown University
- District of Columbia