U.S. Reps. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) are calling for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to launch an investigation into alleged discriminatory real estate practices on Long Island after a Newsday report Sunday.
They wrote a joint letter to Ben Carson, the HUD secretary, on Tuesday citing a three-year Newsday investigative report that “found evidence of widespread separate and unequal treatment of minority potential homebuyers and minority communities.”
“Home-ownership is a pillar of the American Dream, and at a time when Long Island is growing more diverse than ever, we need to ensure that every family has an equal shot at making that dream a reality,” Rice said in a separate statement.
According to Rice and Suozzi, the Newsday report revealed that real estate agents associated with Long Island’s largest residential brokerage firms “frequently steered” white customers toward predominantly white neighborhoods while directing minority buyers to “more diverse neighborhoods.”
“The findings in this report suggest that these real estate agents have been perpetuating residential segregation and convey a disturbing pattern of housing discrimination throughout the region,” Rice and Suozzi’s letter said.
The letter went on to say that Long Island has a “long documented history of racial segregation and housing segregation” and that it remains one of the most racially segregated metropolitan regions in the country.
In the letter, the representatives cited the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which Suozzi and Rice said is meant to combat housing segregation in the United States.
“Therefore we urge HUD to fully investigate these documented reports of housing discrimination on Long Island and help propose solutions to this long-standing problem,” the letter concludes.
HUD is investigating the findings of the Newsday report, Newsday said.