A federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday on behalf of three black residents accuses New York City of perpetuating residential segregation by reserving as many as half of the subsidized apartments planned in the city for applicants already living in the neighborhood where the units are to be built.
The city doles out new affordable housing to low- and moderate-income households through lotteries that have been drawing tens of thousands of applications in the tight housing market. Applicants must meet strict income requirements, and, in addition to income, the new buildings look for tenants with preferential status under lottery rules, including residents in the community district where the new housing will go.
City officials have said the preference helps preserve neighborhoods. But the lawsuit, filed by the New York nonprofit Anti-Discrimination Center in United States District Court, alleges that the preference also denies equal access and serves to keep racial and ethnic minorities out of mostly white areas in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act and the city’s Human Rights Law.