Attorneys Claim Racial Discrimination Following Hurricane

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A federal lawsuit was filed earlier this week by a group of civil rights attorneys against the Louisiana Road Home Program. The lawsuit alleges racial discrimination by the program, which is a ten and a half billions dollar program that is aimed at helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina to rebuild their homes.

According to the lawsuit the program awarded grants based on the market value of the properties before the hurricane struck rather than based on how much it would cost to rebuild the home. The lawsuit further claims that because of this thousands of African Americans who lived in areas where the value of property was lower than in predominantly white areas received lower grants even though the cost of rebuilding was similar.

Shanna L. Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said: “HUD allowed a formula that is biased and threatens to undermine the recovery efforts of African-American homeowners.”

Smith added: “It failed to take into account the legacy of racial discrimination in the housing market, which has resulted in systematically lower values for homes in communities of color.”

 

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