Groups Asks HUD to Withhold Harvey Funds from Houston

A civil rights group is asking the feds to withhold Hurricane Harvey relief funds from Houston until the city complies with federal housing requirements.

All this stems from Mayor Sylvester Turner's rejection of a proposed subsidized housing complex near the Galleria that the Department of Housing and Urban Development said was motivated at least in part by racism.

“Until the city of Houston corrects these violations it is barred from receiving that money, whether for Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery or other funds that might normally come to the city of Houston,” says Michael Allen, an attorney representing Texas Low Income Housing Information Services.

HUD offered a checklist to the city to become eligible again.

“Take immediate steps to allow the Fountain View project back online, and then fix its general system which allowed the opposition to that project, which was based on racial animus, fix that system so that it doesn't happen again in the future,” says Allen.

A spokesman for Mayor Turner says the city has been in talks with HUD about the project, adding that advocacy groups have the right to their opinion, but it doesn't mean HUD has to follow their advice.

“Communities around the country are entitled to federal funds only if they comply with the requirements for getting those funds, those have been the rules for 50 years,” says Allen.

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