The building at 1577 Carroll St. Photo: Google Maps.

A Brooklyn affordable housing developer who allegedly discriminated on race and disability when finding possible tenants for two Brooklyn housing developments has entered into a consent order with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The order follows HUD’s April letter to the developer, warning that the department was cutting off federal funds due to the discrimination.

The new consent order requires Carbrook, which has two buildings located at 1577 Carroll Street and 440 Brooklyn Avenue, to make modifications to its units and common areas so they accessible to individuals with disabilities, and to provide families seeking housing an equal opportunity regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability, and other characteristics protected by federal fair housing laws. 

Carbrook has received federal funds to provide affordable housing since 1981, and over the past 10 years it has got $11.5 million through HUD’s Project-Based Rental Assistance program for the two Brooklyn buildings. However, it has elected to leave the program this October.

The building at 440 Brooklyn Ave. Photo: Google Maps.

Despite this, the consent order states that Carbrook must conduct affirmative fair housing marketing and modify its waitlist policies and procedures, and HUD says that it will protect assisted residents and preserve affordable housing by giving tenant protection vouchers to all residents. The vouchers provide mobile rental assistance that can travel with a family if they choose to leave the property.

An investigation by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity found that Carbrook’s housing discrimination occurred in 81 multifamily units in Brooklyn, where it did not eliminate architectural barriers that limited access to the units that were predominantly occupied by white tenants.

The investigation found Carbrook had violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Acting Assistant Secretary Jeanine Worden said the agency was committed to enforcing federal civil rights laws and “will not tolerate housing providers taking federal housing funds while shirking their civil rights obligations and refusing to cooperate with federal civil rights investigations.”

“Today’s Consent Order demonstrates HUD’s commitment to ensuring individuals with disabilities and persons of color have an equal opportunity to live in affordable, accessible housing.” 

Stephen Murphy, HUD Deputy Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey, added that housing discrimination was unacceptable and had no place in New York State. “Property owners and agents cannot accept federal funding from HUD and then refuse to provide access to people with disabilities.”

People who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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