The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has held back three years of community development grants from Westchester County over its compliance with the 2009 fair housing settlement, is a step closer to reallocating $7.4 million in grants from 2011.
HUD notified communities in the New York metro region Wednesday that they might receive additional block grant funds that were previously allocated to Westchester. And HUD has said the money could be reallocated by Aug. 29, according to a letter sent July 29 to Judge Denise Cote, who is overseeing the housing settlement, by an attorney for the county.
“We are currently in the process of informing these communities so they can prepare to utilize these resources in the event that they become available,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones.
If they are not awarded to a community by the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, the funds will be returned to the treasury. The letter to Cote also says the county may file again for injunctive relief given the impending deadline. It was denied a stay in April.
The announcement came as the monitor overseeing the housing case, James Johnson, released a study of zoning in Westchester designed to break the impasse over the settlement and free the funds. Click here for a story and links to the reports.
The county rejected the monitor’s conclusions and called for the release of the grants.
“The County Executive once again demands that HUD release the $17 million it is arbitrarily withholding from our local communities,” said Ned McCormack, a spokesman for County Executive Rob Astorino. “There is no reason for HUD to continue to hold this money hostage, which is designed to help our neediest residents.”