Department of Justice pressures New Berlin to take stronger stand on integrated housing
New Berlin - Due to federal Department of Justice pressure, the New Berlin Common Council last week reached a consensus to take stronger measures to promote integrated housing in the city.
The council will take formal action later when the two aldermen who could not attend last week's meeting return.
The stronger actions are being considered so that the city can keep intact its settlement of a discrimination lawsuit the DOJ brought against the city for its attempts to block workforce multifamily housing in the New Berlin City Center.
As part of the consent decree that settled the lawsuit, the city agreed to submit a housing outreach plan detailing how it would promote affordable housing. The city submitted its draft plan to the DOJ and it came back with suggested changes that the council is expected to accept.
Under the draft, the city agreed to explore reaching out to six organizations including the Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, the Waukesha Housing Authority, and Habitat for Humanity with respect to affordable housing opportunities. But the DOJ wants the city to definitely contact those groups.
The DOJ also asked the city to agree to more actively seek grants to put into a fund the consent decree required the city to set up to promote affordable housing. For example, instead of periodically checking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website for grant opportunities, the DOJ wants the city to search at least every quarter.
- Jane Ford-Stewart
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