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New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled the Fair Housing Enforcement Program, an initiative designed to investigate charges of discrimination in home sale transactions and rental housing.
Under the Fair Housing Enforcement Program, the state will hire three agencies—Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Buffalo, CNY Fair Housing in Syracuse and Westchester Residential Opportunities in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties—to send out undercover agents to determine levels of housing discrimination based on race, gender, economic status and disability; the program has no agenda to investigate housing discrimination against LGBT New Yorkers, even though such actions are against state law.
Gov. Cuomo, who served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during Bill Clinton’s presidency, also directed New York’s Division of Human Rights and the Department of State to propose new regulations that will strengthen housing enforcement efforts. Last year, the Division of Human Rights reached settlements on 123 cases alleging housing discrimination.
“The simple, painful truth is that for all our progress in creating a better society, discrimination is still alive and well in America today,” said Gov. Cuomo in announcing the program. “We will not stand for it in New York. These actions will hold housing providers accountable–we will not hesitate to crack down on those who break the law. We will do everything we can to root out discrimination where it shows its ugly presence in order to create stronger and more inclusive communities statewide.”