WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement that will end active court supervision in United States v. Yonkers, a racial desegregation case. The agreement requires the City of Yonkers to continue implementing the housing desegregation program created under prior court orders as the city resumes local control over its affordable housing program. The settlement agreement must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in order to become effective.
“We are very pleased with the settlement agreement,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The agreement ensures that the gains we achieved will be maintained even as the city resumes local control.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the city will maintain a pool of approximately 425 resident-owned housing units and 315 rental housing units for time periods ranging from 10 to 30 years. The city will monitor the housing to ensure that the units remain affordable and that the desegregation program standards are maintained. The affordable housing units were built or converted under the court orders in United States v. Yonkers in order to desegregate public and subsidized housing throughout the City of Yonkers. In the event that there is a violation of the settlement agreement, the Department of Justice or the NAACP may sue for compliance.
In 1980, the Justice Department sued the City of Yonkers for intentionally segregating its schools and subsidized housing programs on the basis of race. The Yonkers Branch of the NAACP intervened as plaintiffs in 1981. With regard to housing, the government’s complaint alleged that the city “intentionally followed a systematic pattern of selecting sites for public and subsidized housing projects that has effectively perpetuated and seriously aggravated residential racial segregation in the City of Yonkers.” In 1985, a federal court found that Yonkers had intentionally segregated its public schools and housing for a period of more than 40 years. The education portion of the case was resolved in 2002 and the agreement expired in 2006.