Josh RultenbergAug 10, 2017, 9:33 amAug 11, 2017, 7:04 am

Fair housing group sues Bedford, alleges racial discrimination

Organization claims town uses certain preferences that tend to favor white applicants over African-Americans

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A fair housing organization is alleging the use of racial discrimination in the way town of Bedford allocates middle-income affordable housing.

The Fair Housing Justice Center claims the town and its housing agency use certain preferences like residency and employment that tend to favor white over African-American applicants. And it's not the first time the group has made similar accusations in Westchester County.

Within the last seven years, the FHJC has brought similar lawsuits against Bronxville, Eastchester and Yorktown.

Fair Housing and Westchester Residential Opportunities, a non-profit organization and co-plaintiff in the suit, believe the town zoning code helps people who already live or work in town and who the two groups feel are more likely to be white.

The FHJC says it sent an African-American tester to Bedford back in March who was told by the town tax receiver “an applicant for middle-income housing received priority if the person was already a town resident, had a parent or child in town, was a fire department or ambulance corps volunteer, or was a town employee.”

The town and Blue Mountain Housing Development Corporation, its housing agency, disputes the claim and Bedford Town Supervisor Chris Burdick defends its practices.

The suit asks a federal court to find the town in violation of the fair housing act and it wants Bedford to make changes to its existing housing program and zoning codes.

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