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County Executive

Posted on: March 15, 2019

County Exec Curran and Non-Profit Housing Organizations Announce Resolution to 14-Year Litigation

Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s Administration today joined with non-profit housing developer MHANY Management Inc. (“MHANY”) and New York Communities for Change, Inc. (“NYCC”) to announce a successful resolution of Fair Housing Act litigation that had been pending against Nassau County since 2005.

“This settlement supports my Administration’s on-going efforts to develop and promote mixed-income housing opportunities for all of our residents,” said County Executive Curran. “We are committed to working alongside our non-profit and community advocate partners in this regard.”

Mhany Management, Inc., et al., v. County of Nassau, E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 05-cv-2301. Under the settlement, which was approved by the Nassau County Legislature on March 11, 2019:

  • $5.4M payment to MHANY for purposes of affordable housing development
  • $120,000 in funds to civil rights advocacy group NYCC for educational programs
  • Nassau County will set aside one quarter of the County’s housing grants from the HOME Investment Partnerships program, totaling approximately $450,000 per year for at least three years, to be made available to for-profit and not-for-profit developers seeking to build mixed-income rental housing in high opportunity areas, such as those with ample access to transportation and high performing schools.
  • Nassau’s Office of Community Development will conduct a study and draft a Development and Outreach Plan examining how, where, and by whom mixed-income housing can be developed within the County. The plan will include a model zoning ordinance, which will aid and guide the independent local governments within the County’s borders – its cities, towns, and villages -- as they develop zoning and land use regulations based upon the unique circumstances of each local jurisdiction.

“This is a tremendous moment for people of color in Nassau county,” said Mary Crosson, Chair of the Long Island Chapter of New York Communities for Change. “Long Island is remarkably segregated, and this is an important first step towards integrating Nassau County and reimagining what fair and integrated communities should look like. We are happy to celebrate this settlement, though this is but a first step toward solving many years of housing policies that created and continued the entrenched segregation on Long Island.”

“MHANY is eager to work in Nassau County to create beautiful, sustainable and truly affordable housing for low and moderate income individuals and families and bring the dream of racially diverse communities in Long Island one step closer to reality,” said Ismene Speliotis, Executive Director of MHANY. “Segregation has no place in our country, and we hope it no longer has a place in Nassau County. MHANY looks forward to our housing development work as a big step towards ending any discriminatory policies and practices that exclude people of color.”

“This landmark settlement is an important step forward in ensuring equal access to housing opportunity for African-American and Latino families in Nassau County,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Cities and counties across the country should look to the major policy changes and significant investments that Nassau County is making as a model for dismantling residential segregation and meeting critical affordable housing needs. Our work in Nassau County is a reminder that the promise of fair housing remains unfulfilled for many communities of color.”

Stan Brown of Hogan Lovells US LLP, who led the litigation team for NYCC and MHANY, said: “Hogan Lovells has been committed to this case for fourteen years, both in pursuing the now-settled claims against the County, and in litigating against the Village of Garden City and obtaining victories in the trial court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. We are gratified that the Curran administration decided to work with us to achieve this settlement which will benefit all citizens of the County. We applaud the leadership of Laura Curran and her team on this issue. Nevertheless, we hope and expect that the County understands that this settlement constitutes only the beginning in expanding desperately needed housing opportunity in the County.”

“When points of disagreement can mature into points of concurrence, mutual benefit is usually the product. That is exactly what has happened in this case,” said Frederick K. Brewington, ESQ of the Law office of Frederick K. Brewington, co-counsel for NYCC and MHANY. “Rather than being dedicated to opposition, the parties rolled up their sleeves and work hard to find common ground in the area of fair and affordable housing. This was not the road taken by Garden City in this case, but Nassau is to be applauded for taking a different and constructive approach. An approach that benefits all the residents of Nassau County.”

Developers and non-profit organizations interested in developing mixed-income housing that includes units that would be affordable for low and moderate income families (i.e., those earning $92,800 or less) are encouraged to review the Office of Community Development’s page on the County’s website, or to contact that office for more information at 516-571-3662.

Nassau has a large and diverse population. It has long been the public policy of the County to prohibit discrimination based on actual or perceived race, creed, color, gender, disability, age, religion, source of income, sexual orientation, ethnicity, familial status, marital status or national origin.

Nassau County will continue and expand upon its efforts to encourage fair, decent, safe, and affordable housing for all of its residents, from young adults, to working class families, to seniors, and the less fortunate.

The County was represented by County Attorney Jared A. Kasschau, and outside counsel Scott J. Kreppein of Quatela Chimeri, PLLC. MHANY Management, Inc. and New York Communities for Change, Inc. were represented by Stanley J. Brown and Chava Brandriss of Hogan Lovells US, LLP, Frederick K. Brewington of the Law Office of Frederick K. Brewington, and Thomas Silverstein of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law.

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