Suffolk Executive Unveils New Plan To Attack Housing Discrimination

Sophia Hall
November 19, 2019 - 5:54 pm
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

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CENTRAL ISLIP, NY. (WCBS 880) — The Suffolk County executive on Tuesday unveiled a new plan to attack housing discrimination after an in-depth investigation by Newsday found unequal treatment of minorities by real estate agents on Long Island.

Executive Steve Bellone called the report “disgusting” and wants to ensure that no one on Long Island is ever discriminated against when buy a home.

“Racial discrimination and bias has no place in society,” he told reporters.

The Newsday investigation found, on numerous instances, that agents would deliberately direct minorities to areas on Long Island where the few white people lived and would often explain that homes in predominately white areas were out of their price ranges.

Some agents in the investigation also refused to show some minority homebuyers any properties until they were pre-approved, even though they would show homes to white buyers without pre-approval often.

Bellone says education training and enforcement is needed so that the discriminatory practices do not continue. He adds that a new Human Rights Commission investigator will be hired immediately.

“At the same time we'll be completing our work to hire three administrative law judges in order to process complaints as quickly as possible,” Bellone said.

Bellone’s plan, which would cost $200,000, includes hiring an outside agency to test for housing discrimination, strengthening the county Human Rights Commission and raising public awareness about fair housing laws.