On August 22, 2014 , The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (ICP) filed suit against the United States Department of Treasury (Treasury) and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) alleging Treasury’s administration of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and OCC’s approval of national bank investments in LIHTC projects are causes of racial segregation in Dallas, Texas which disproportionally subjects minority families to unequal conditions of slum, blight and distress.
This case is similar to ICP v. TDHCA, 2008 WL 5191935 (N.D. Tex. 2008), in which ICP filed suit against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) based on the same claims. In that case, the District Court found that the Dallas area LIHTC units were racially segregated and found TDHCA liable for racial segregation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District reversed the judgment and remanded the case for the District Court to apply the FHA disparate impact standards in 24 CFR §100.50. TDHCA filed a petition for certiorari on May 13, 2014. The District Court has stayed the proceedings on remand pending the outcome of the petition for certiorari.
Civil rights groups have been reluctant to bring housing cases before the current mostly conservative Supreme Court. Housing agencies are afraid of new rules that would require them to achieve race-neutral results without taking race into consideration.
If the Supreme Court agrees to hear ICP v. TDHCA, both groups will be waiting to see whether the Court finds that TDHCA has administered the LIHTC program in Texas in a way that has a disparate impact on the racial minorities of the Dallas area.