WHITE PLAINS — When Westchester County agreed to a far-reaching affordable housing agreement in 2009, federal officials heralded a new era for desegregation in communities around the country.
“This is consistent with the president’s desire to see a fully integrated society,” said Ron Sims, then the deputy secretary with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.“Until now, we tended to lay dormant. This is historic, because we are going to hold people’s feet to the fire.”
Five times Westchester has filed a report, required by the agreement, analyzing the obstacles to affordable housing in the county and presenting strategies for overcoming them. Five times the federal government has rejected it as inadequate.
The Westchester County executive, Rob Astorino, has called for HUD to release $7 million it has withheld from the county because of what it calls a lack of compliance.
Mr. Astorino took aim at the department after a court decision in March. A magistrate judge ruled that Mr. Astorino did not violate the agreement when he vetoed a bill that required landlords to accept government vouchers as rental payments.
“This is a major win not just for the county but for the nation,” Mr. Astorino, a Republican, said at a news conference.“We took a very principled stand against an unwarranted invasion by HUD and the federal government, and the county won.”
His critics, including some in the Democratic-controlled county legislature and at the Anti-Discrimination Center, the nonprofit group whose lawsuit led to the agreement, said Mr. Astorino was mischaracterizing a mixed ruling and continuing to flout the terms of the deal. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/nyregion/we...