Letter of Transmittal

New York Advisory Committee to the
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Members of the Commission
Mary Francis Berry, Chairperson
Cruz Reynoso, Vice Chairperson
Carl A. Anderson
Christopher F. Edley, Jr.
Yvonne Y. Lee
Elsie M. Meeks
Russell G. Redenbaugh

Ruby G. Moy, Staff Director

As part of its responsibility to assist the Commission in its factfinding function, the New York Advisory Committee submits this report, Equal Housing Opportunities in New York: An Evaluation of Section 8 Housing Programs in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. This study is based on three factfinding meetings conducted in Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo in the fall of 1996, supplemented by followup interviews and background research. Persons who provided information were given an opportunity to review relevant sections of the report and, where appropriate, their comments and corrections were incorporated. The Advisory Committee unanimously approved the report by a vote of 16 to 0.

At each factfinding meeting, the Committee heard from several panels, including representatives from (1) the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and local public housing agencies, (2) fair housing advocacy organizations, and (3) community representatives, landlords, and Section 8 recipients. The panelists shared their perspectives on problems, including complaints about residency preferences, waiting lists, poor public transportation, and discrimination, and also about new tenant friendly programs that held promise for greater housing mobility.

Among the conclusions resulting from the factfinding meetings, the Advisory Committee noted that housing agencies have not been proactive in promoting residential mobility as mandated by HUD. Many housing agencies are in effect promoting segregation by refusing to share suburban landlord lists with inner-city Section 8 recipients. The Advisory Committee also concluded that mobility counseling centers hold the greatest possibility to help move Section 8 recipients out of high poverty concentration areas into suburban jurisdictions with more educational and economic opportunities.

Although the report does not reflect an exhaustive analysis of the subject, the Advisory Committee hopes the Commission will find it of value in its monitoring of fair housing issues nationwide.


M.D. (Lita) Taracido
New York Advisory Committee