HUD Investigation
1:31 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Greenville Housing Authority faces discrimination charge by NAACP

The Greenville, TX branch of the NAACP has filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over alleged discriminatory practices related to Section 8 housing in Greenville.

“Quite frankly, the practices that the Greenville Housing Authority have used to keep its boots on the necks of low-income African Americans is despicable,” says NAACP Pres. Phil Dukes and vice president Will Hobdy. “The reason we filed this complaint is because we recently had a number of documented cases where the Greenville Housing Authority has one set of unwritten rules that are favorable to white clients and one set of well-written and broadly defined rules that are unfavorable to Black clients,” said Hobdy. “These numbers showed a trend that could not be ignored.”

GHA director Teresa Vinson indicated to KETR Thursday that these charges are very new and that she was not ready to issue a response at that time.

See the press release from the NAACP below:

NAACP Greenville Branch files housing discrimination complaint against Greenville Housing Authority 
 

The NAACP Greenville Branch last week filed a housing discrimination complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) against the Greenville Housing Authority. In the complaint the NAACP Greenville Branch alleges that discriminatory practices as they relate to the way Greenville Housing Authority operates are based on race and are far removed from equal treatment.

We believe that the Greenville Housing Authority subjects African Americans, who are on the Section 8 Voucher program, to different terms and conditions of rental and eviction based upon false accusations and trumped-up charges of lease violations read the complaint. The complaint went on to say “Non-African Americans, who are similarly situated, are not removed from the Section 8 Voucher program. 

“Quite frankly, the practices that the Greenville Housing Authority have used to keep its boots on the necks of low-income African Americans is despicable,” says NAACP Pres. Phil Dukes and vice president Will Hobdy. “The reason we filed this complaint is because we recently had a number of documented cases where the Greenville Housing Authority has one set of unwritten rules that are favorable to white clients and one set of well-written and broadly defined rules that are unfavorable to Black clients,” said Hobdy. “These numbers showed a trend that could not be ignored.”

Greenville Housing Authority executive director Teresa Vinson was named as a respondent in the complaint. The violations fall under the Fair Housing Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI). Investigators with the Department of Housing and Urban Development Ft. Worth Regional office will be conducting the investigation which is already underway according to HUD Region VI Director Gary L. Sweeney.

“As the HUD investigation unfolds and as many more people come forward, I think the situation will become worse than anything we might have imagined,” said Dukes. “We will continue to gather our own internal information as others come forward and as HUD conducts their investigation. The Greenville Housing Authority has used their power and authority to deny and withdraw Section 8 Housing benefits to African American clients for the slightest of reasons. And, these slight reasons have contributed to destroying families and placing undue hardships on people who are trying to better themselves- most are single-moms who work and attend college. Facing the challenges of work and school plus living with the fear that the Greenville Housing Authority can and will literally walk in and destroy them at will makes it nearly impossible for these low-income single mothers to move forward in life.”

If snuffing out the hopes of educational advancement for Section 8 recipients has been detrimental to the minority community, then constructing hurdles for African American property owners who have wanted to lease their vacant housing stocks through the Greenville Housing Authority Section 8 program has been an American nightmare, according to Dukes. “They have virtually shut down economic development within the Black community by shutting out all but less than a handful of the vocal African Americans when it comes to allowing property owners to participate,” said Dukes. “We will certainly be looking at adding this type of discriminatory practice to our complaint.”

“With all this being said, we have no option but to put an end to the ways and means under which the Greenville Housing Authority has been allowed to practice their discriminatory methods,” says Hobdy. “The problems with the Greenville Housing Authority have been there a long time and have been ignored a long time. Now, it is time to put an end to it.”