FOR THE DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Civil Action Number: 396 CV 01118 (AHN)
HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE TOWN
OF MILFORD, and CITY of
NAACP, et al.,
HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE TOWN
OF MILFORD, et al.,
____________________________________JOINTLY STIPULATED MODIFICATIONS TO SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT ENTERED AS COURT ORDER ON OCTOBER 5, 1998
The United States, the private plaintiffs, the Housing Authority of the Town of Milford, Keith Rubenstein and George Ronkowitz (the last three are hereinafter referred to as "the MHA") hereby agree to replace Paragraphs 12 - 27 and 29 of the Settlement Agreement in the above-captioned matter, entered as an Order of the Court on October 5, 1998, as follows:* * *
- The MHA will select families to occupy the housing units acquired, acquired and rehabilitated, and/or developed under the Plan in an objective, non-discriminatory manner according to appropriate eligibility and screening criteria. In so doing, the MHA will use the guidelines set forth below, which are also contained in its Admissions and Continued Occupancy Plan ("ACOP").
- Beginning no later than May 15, 2000, and continuing thereafter for the remainder of the five-day business week, the MHA will accept pre-applications for residency in its subsidized housing units for families, including the subsidized housing units to be acquired and/or developed under the Plan (collectively, "subsidized housing units for families"). This period constitutes the "First Application Period." When the MHA reasonably anticipates the exhaustion of the family public housing Waiting List ("Waiting List") established under ¶16 following the First Application Period, it will advertise and hold a new Application Period and establish, in accordance with ¶16, a new Waiting List that will become effective immediately after the Waiting List established following the First Application Period is exhausted. The MHA will similarly advertise and hold new a Application Period, and establish a new Waiting List, whenever it reasonably anticipates exhaustion of an existing Waiting List.
- The MHA shall publish advertisement notices concerning the First and subsequent Application Periods in accordance with ¶29 of this Settlement Agreement. In addition to the information required by that Paragraph, the final such notice published prior to each Application Period shall contain a blank pre-application form. At least one week prior to each Application Period, the MHA shall also deliver, by first class mail, notices containing blank pre-application forms to social service agencies in Milford and surrounding municipalities.
- Any person who wishes to apply for residency in the MHA's subsidized housing units for families must complete and mail a pre-application to a specifically designated address at the MHA during an Application Period. Pre-applications shall be submitted by mail only, except that reasonable accommodations shall be made for individuals whose disabilities make mailing impracticable. All pre-applications must be post-marked within an Application Period and received by the MHA no later than fourteen (14) days after the close of an Application Period. The MHA will not consider any pre-application not post-marked and received accordingly. If an individual submits more than one pre-application during an Application Period, the MHA will not consider any of the pre-applications he or she submitted for that Period, and he or she will be ineligible for the MHA's subsidized housing units for families until the following Application Period.
- All envelopes containing pre-applications shall remain sealed and shall be placed in a secure location until fifteen (15) days after the close of an Application Period. On said fifteenth day, the MHA shall conduct a Lottery to determine which pre-applicants may be considered for residency in its subsidized housing units for families. Specifically, the MHA shall draw at random, from among all pre-applications, a specific number of timely submitted pre-applications which it determines, in its discretion, to be sufficient to establish a Waiting List that it reasonably expects will be exhausted in one year.
- Consistent with the ACOP, all pre-applicants drawn in the Lottery will be assigned to one of the following Income Tiers:
- Tier I: pre-applicant families with incomes between 0% and 30% of area median income;
- Tier II: pre-applicant families with incomes between 30% and 80% of area median income.
- All pre-applicants drawn in the Lottery will be given either a "ranking preference" or "no preference" designation on the Waiting List. As provided in the ACOP, pre-applicants qualify for a "ranking preference" if they:
- live, work or have been hired to work in Milford; and/or
- are and have been working at least 20 hours a week for the past 12 months; are and have been working at least 40 hours a week for the past month; are attending an educational or training institution full-time; are participating in a program recognized by the state agency administering the program of temporary assistance to needy families; or are part of a family in which all adult members are unable to work because of age or disability.
Pre-applicants with a "ranking preference" designation will be ranked higher on the Waiting List than applicants with a "no preference" designation. However, ranking preferences shall not be aggregated. Accordingly, pre-applicants who qualify for one ranking preference will not receive any less of a preference than applicants who qualify for more than one such preference, but will instead enjoy the same preference status as those applicants.
- Within both the "ranking preference" and "no preference" categories on the Waiting List, pre-applicants will be ranked according to the order in which their pre-applications were drawn in the Lottery.
- Within three weeks after the Lottery is held, the MHA shall notify all pre-applicants selected in the Lottery that they have been selected. The notice shall invite these selected pre-applicants to the offices of the MHA to receive an orientation on the MHA's admissions process, complete an application for low-income family public housing, and provide any additional information which will help determine their eligibility for such housing. Selected pre-applicants must complete these applications and provide this information in person at the MHA's offices, except that reasonable accommodations shall be made for selected pre-applicants whose disabilities make coming to the MHA impracticable.
- The advertisement notice required by ¶14 shall include language indicating that selected pre-applicants will be notified of their selection no more than three weeks after the Lottery, and that non-selected pre-applicants will not be notified of their non-selection. Accordingly, non-selected pre-applicants will not receive notification, following the Lottery, that their pre-applications were not selected.
- Within 120 days prior to a unit becoming available for occupancy, the MHA will screen selected pre-applicants who have completed an application ("applicants") to determine whether they meet the MHA's Eligibility and Selection Criteria, which are contained in the ACOP. The MHA will apply its Selection Criteria in a non-discriminatory manner to assess the willingness and ability of applicants to comply with essential lease provisions, including, but not limited to:
- paying rent and other charges in a timely manner;
- appropriately caring for the unit and common areas;
- not interfering with the rights and peaceful enjoyment of others; and
- not engaging in criminal activity (including drug-related criminal activity) that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents or staff.
- Selected pre-applicants who do not properly complete an application will be withdrawn from the Waiting List. Selected pre-applicants who do not satisfy the MHA's Eligibility and Selection Criteria will be rejected for residency in the MHA's subsidized housing units for families, will be withdrawn from the Waiting List, and as provided in the ACOP, will have a right to an informal hearing.
- As housing units, acquired, acquired and rehabilitated, and/or developed under the Plan or any other MHA subsidized housing units for families become available for occupancy, the MHA will offer applicants such units based on both their need for units with the same bedroom-size as those becoming available and their rank on the Waiting List, determined in accordance with ¶¶ 18 - 19, except that, within any twelve month period: (a) the percentages of applicants in Tiers I and II receiving unit offers must match the percentages, rounded to the nearest 10%, by which applicants within each Income Tier are represented on the Waiting List following the Lottery; and (b) not less than 50% of the applicants admitted into and newly occupying housing units must be from Tier I. Any applicant on the Waiting List who declines to accept an offered housing unit shall be moved to the end of the Waiting List, as set forth in the ACOP.
- In accordance with ¶¶13-16, the MHA, when it reasonably expects that the exhaustion of an existing Waiting List is imminent, will (a) advertise and hold a new Application Period and (b) establish a new Waiting List that will become effective immediately upon exhaustion of the existing Waiting List.
- The parties to this Settlement Agreement agree that, as written, the procedures and guidelines set forth in this Section and in ¶5 are fair and legal and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. However, each party reserves its right, after sufficient time has elapsed, to evaluate the manner in which such procedures and guidelines operate in practice and to revise or request revision of these procedures to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The parties shall work in good faith in the event that a request for revision is made and shall use the procedures set forth in Section VIII of this Settlement Agreement to resolve any dispute.
- This Agreement only contains guidelines regarding the procedures for applying for and being selected to reside in the MHA's subsidized housing units for families. It does not contain all of the specific provisions that will govern such application and selection procedures. Each such specific provision is contained in the ACOP and will be set forth in the Plan.
- Beginning four (4) weeks before the MHA, pursuant to ¶¶13 and 25, begins an Application Period, and once each week thereafter for the next three weeks, the MHA will place an advertisement concerning its subsidized housing units for families in the news sections of each of following publications: (a) New Haven Register; (b) Connecticut Post (c) Milford Mirror; and (d) such other publications as the parties agree upon. The MHA will place a similar advertisement concerning these housing units in the news sections of each of these publications once each week for the four weeks preceding all subsequent Application Periods. Each such advertisement will:
- prominently display the fair housing logo;
- set forth the dates of the pertinent Application Period and explain when, where and how prospective applicants will be required to submit pre-applications;
- describe the Lottery, eligibility criteria, the intake and screening process for selected pre-applicants, and the ranking procedures governing the Waiting List; and
- describe, if possible, the housing units being made available under the Plan by size, type and location.
As required by ¶14, the last advertisement appearing in each of the above-designated publications prior to an Application Period shall also contain a blank pre-application form which persons seeking residency in the MHA's subsidized housing units for families may clip, fill out and mail to the MHA pursuant to the provisions of Section III of this Agreement.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED this ______ day of ____________, 2000, that the foregoing provisions replace Paragraphs 12 - 27 and 29 of the existing Settlement Agreement, which was entered as an ORDER of this Court on October 5, 1998.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
The undersigned parties consent to and request that the Court approve the foregoing modifications to the existing Settlement Agreement.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
The undersigned parties consent to and request that the Court enter this Settlement Agreement as its own Order.
FOR DEFENDANT MHA:
JAMES G. WILLIAMS
ROBERT J. FLANAGAN, JR.
Cella, McKeon & Williams, P.C.
P.O. Box 221
21 Washington Avenue
North Haven, CT 06473-0221
FOR PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES:
BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
United States Attorney BY: JOHN HUGHES
Asst. United States Attorney
District of Connecticut
157 Church Street
New Haven, CT
FOR PRIVATE PLAINTIFFS:
PHILIP D. TEGELER
Connecticut Civil Liberties Union Foundation
32 Grand Street
Hartford, CT 06106
New Haven Legal Assistance
426 State Street
New Haven, CT 06510-2018
(203) 946-2811 > >