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Andrew Cuomo vows to crackdown on housing discrimination

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden in New York, Jan. 16, 2016. Credit: AP

A planned crackdown on housing discrimination across New York State could soon result in some Realtors losing their licenses, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told congregants Sunday at a Harlem church.

“It’s going to be disruptive to a lot of big players in the housing industry,” Cuomo said to an audience at Convent Avenue Baptist Church.

The crackdown will involve hiring private firms to track ads for housing and find out if the outcome is the same whether the applicant is white, African-American, from another ethnic group, has a disability or applies under Section 8.

Cuomo did not specify when the effort would begin. But he said the state government has to be more aggressive to promote a more just society. “We are going to say this law is going to be enforced like this law has never been enforced.”

Cuomo said that despite the fact that housing discrimination is illegal in New York, “it goes on all the time.” He noted that over the past “nine months to a year” alone there have been 130 cases that have been “resolved or reconciled.”

The governor called housing discrimination “unethical,” “immoral” and “wrong” and said it very much exists in New York though it is a state where prejudices are typically handled in a more “subtle” and “sophisticated” manner than in other parts of the country.

Cuomo said that for example, real estate brokers will tell certain applicants, “Don’t bother applying to that building because you wouldn’t feel comfortable there.’ ”

Nothing like that will be tolerated, Cuomo said.

“If they violate the law they’re not going to be a real estate broker in New York,” Cuomo said. “We’re not going to let people get away with it.”

Cuomo said where a person lives affects their quality of life since it can dictate the types of schools available to their children and the types of friends their children are exposed to.

“We have to have a housing market that allows people to live wherever they want to live,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said that where there is housing discrimination, “we’re going to find it, ferret it out and prosecute it because it is illegal.”

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