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HUD No. 24-118
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685
May 17, 2024

HUD Negotiates Agreement With North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency to Remove Barriers to Disaster Recovery Funds

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has entered into a Conciliation Agreement and Voluntary Compliance Agreement (Agreement) with the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) resolving an allegation that NCORR discriminated in its disaster recovery programs because of race. A North Carolina resident who filed a complaint in the case and was represented by North Carolina Legal Aid is also a party to the agreement. Read the Agreement.

“Subjecting Black storm survivors to barriers that ultimately prevent them from rebuilding their homes is unconscionable,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to making sure that disaster recovery funds are administered justly.”

The Agreement resolves the complaint filed against NCORR under the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. The complaint alleged that NCORR’s heirs’ property policy unlawfully discriminated against Black homeowners and prevented them from accessing disaster recovery funds to repair their homes. “Heirs’ property” is family land inherited without a will or traditional documentation of ownership. Black, Latino, and Indigenous households, as well as low-income people and members of other marginalized groups, are disproportionately heirs’ property owners.

NCORR’s heirs’ property policy included proof of ownership criteria that required applicants for disaster relief funds to first consult with anyone with a property ownership claim. Additionally, it required that the owner signing the grant agreement have authority to act on behalf of any occupants of the property as well as anyone who may claim an interest in the destroyed property. The complaint alleged that these requirements denied equal housing opportunities and disparately impacted Black homeowners from seeking disaster recovery assistance funds.

In addition to securing relief for the individual complainant, the Agreement requires NCORR to remove existing discriminatory barriers faced by homeowner storm survivors seeking recovery assistance and to comply with fair housing laws in the future. Under the Agreement, NCORR will finalize revisions to its ReBuild NC Homeowner Recovery Program (Program). The revisions will address any discriminatory impact the existing policy had on Black homeowners whose primary residences were directly or indirectly impacted by Hurricanes Matthew and/or Florence. The revisions will allow applicants for disaster recovery funds to submit a signed affidavit as proof of property ownership. The Agreement requires NCORR to provide notice of the policy changes to applicants rejected or otherwise barred from participation in the Program and an opportunity to appeal for reentry into the Program, which will expand access to disaster recovery funds to North Carolina residents.

HUD did not issue a letter of findings prior to entering into the Agreement and the Agreement does not constitute admissions by NCORR or evidence of a final determination by HUD of violations of Title VI, Title VIII, Section 109, or any other laws based on the allegations of the complaint.

People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 9669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at /fairhousing.


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