Exec. Astorino goes to Washington

County Executive Rob Astorino (R-Westchester) went to Washington, D.C. today to fight what he says are unfair changes to the county's affordable housing settlement.

"I think we had a great conversation, a very candid and frank conversation," said Astorino after meeting with Shaun Donovan, President Barack Obama's housing secretary. "There are clearly some issues that need to be worked out, we're still being asked to accept the unacceptable."

Astorino claims the county is well ahead of schedule on its seven-year commitment to create 750 affordable housing units marketed to minorities in 31 wealthy, mostly white, communities. However, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has rejected part of the county's analysis of impediments to fair housing for a fifth time and is withholding $7 million in federal grant money.

Fair housing advocates and HUD want the new housing to end what they call decades of segregation by moving minority families into areas that are 93 percent or more white.

Astorino is refusing to admit racial discrimination played any role in Westchester's alleged segregation, claiming it's more a matter of economics and that people live where they can afford to live. He's also accusing HUD officials of changing the terms of the 2009 settlement by demanding that half the apartments be three bedrooms.

Official: WC ahead of schedule in providing affordable housing Federal regulators reject WC affordable-housing plan

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