(MINEOLA, N.Y.) – The Nassau County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D – Plainview) that directs the County to establish a fair housing hotline and website to combat discrimination in Nassau County.
Legislator Drucker introduced the measure, which was unanimously adopted on Monday, Dec. 16, in response to disturbing findings published in Newsday’s “Long Island Divided” housing discrimination investigation. Their three-year probe unveiled widespread discrimination against prospective African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American home buyers.
“Newsday’s rigorous and lengthy investigation unearthed a disturbing and pervasive trend of racial discrimination against prospective home buyers in Nassau County,” Legislator Drucker said. “By enacting this measure, we are empowering residents by placing housing discrimination resources at their fingertips. I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for taking this step toward eradicating institutionalized racism and other forms of discrimination in this County.”
The legislation directs the Chair and Executive Director of the Nassau County Human Rights Commission to establish a toll-free Fair Housing Hotline so that callers can receive fair housing information and report discrimination to a trained professional. The hotline will be operational from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends.
County officials will have 60 days after County Executive Laura Curran signs the bill into law to develop an implementation plan for the Fair Housing Hotline that includes a staffing plan, reporting procedures and other protocols. The hotline and website are to be live 90 days after the County Executive signs the bill.
Through the fair-housing website – which will be designed for easy smartphone access – the County will provide around-the-clock access to details about fair housing laws, how to report and file complaints about suspected housing discrimination; and other resources.
To raise awareness about these resources, the Executive Director of the Nassau County Human Rights Commission will be directed to pursue grant opportunities for the purpose of funding a public awareness campaign.