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OAKLAND COUNTY EXECUTIVE L.

BROOKS PATTERSON

Bill Mullan, Media & Communications Officer


Office: (248) 858-1048 | Cell: (248) 202-9668 | mullanw@oakgov.com

NEWS RELEASE
HUD attempting to direct money away from minority homeowners
June 13, 2018, Pontiac, Mich. – Oakland County is angered by the ridiculous assertion in a findings
letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal
Opportunity (FHEO) that the county needs to do more to support low-income renters to the detriment of
low-income homeowners who receive loans for much-needed home repairs through the county’s home
improvement program. After all, HUD has approved the county’s plan for distributing federal housing
grants every year for 43 years. In addition, there is $70 million of affordable rental housing options in
Oakland County. The county’s policy to utilize $7 million in federal housing money every year to support
low-income home ownership rather than rental assistance conforms to federal law and aligns with the
goals of HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson.

“We are shocked and perplexed. HUD is telling the county to take money away from minority families,
individuals with disabilities, and single mothers who want to own or improve a home and give it to
renters despite the abundance of affordable rental housing options already available in Oakland
County,” said Bill Mullan, Oakland County media & communications officer. “This is unrestrained
government bureaucracy run amuck evidenced by the fact that one division of HUD tells Oakland
County ‘excellent job’ while another HUD division, which is wielded as a political hammer, says
otherwise.”

Oakland County Community & Home Improvement Division (CHI) administers about $5 million in
federal Community Development Block Grants across 53 communities and $2 million in the HOME
Investment Partnerships Program (HIP) across 57 communities every year. The county, with bipartisan
approval from the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, has directed the administration of its funds
toward low-income individuals and households.

CHI has submitted its annual plan for administering federal low-income housing grants to HUD’s
Community Planning and Development Division (CPD) which has granted approval every year for 43
years. At the end of each year, CHI has also submitted an annual Consolidated Annual Performance
and Evaluation Report to CPD to demonstrate the county’s compliance with the HUD-approved plan.
CPD has confirmed every year that Oakland County conformed to the approved plan. The CPD
approval letter for Oakland County’s fiscal year 2018 acknowledged CHI’s excellence in administering
federal funds:

“We would like to take this opportunity to commend Oakland County on your successful completion of
this year’s Annual Plan. We believe that the goals and objectives developed through this process
provide the foundation for the formulation of new partnerships at all levels of government and with the

2100 Pontiac Lake Road | County Executive Building 41W | Waterford, MI 48328 | Fax (248) 858-5111 | OakGov.com
private sector including for-profit and non-profit organizations. These partnerships are invaluable as you
and your partners address the problems of affordable housing, homelessness, and economic
opportunities for all citizens, particularly for very low-income, low-income and moderate-income
persons,” the letter dated Oct. 19, 2017 said.

HUD’s confidence in Oakland County was also evident when the department asked CHI to rescue
Pontiac’s block grant program which languished while the city was under a state-appointed emergency
manager. The county took over the administration of Pontiac’s block grant funds and did so effectively.

It is noteworthy that Oakland County’s focus on home ownership for low-income families aligns with the
goals of HUD Secretary Ben Carson. In June of 2017, he emphasized how homeownership is part of
the fabric of the country and economy at a forum titled “A New Era of Homeownership.” He said, “The
importance of homeownership is apparent to all of us: security, certainty, safety, wealth creation, a path
forward, self-sufficiency, a place to live with loved ones, to raise our families, the location of our
neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, FHEO based its findings on faulty assumptions and skewed statistics. Oakland County’s
programs do not have a disparate impact on African-Americans as FHEO claimed. An analysis of the
appropriate demographics and statistics by independent demographers retained by Oakland County
shows that African-American households received assistance at levels that exceeded their share of the
relevant low- and moderate-income population. For example, 15.7% of low-income households in block
grant communities were African-American in 2016 while 24% of the households that received block
grant funds were African-American. In 2014, 16.3% of low-income households in block grant
communities were African-American while 19.03% of the households that received block grant funds
were African-American.

There are similar results for the HIP funds Oakland County administers. In 2016, 20.1% of the low-
income households in HIP communities were African-American, while 21.48% of households that
received HIP funds were African-American. In 2014, 20.5% of the low-income households in the HIP
communities were African-American while 19.7% of households that received HIPP funds were African-
American.

Here are further details:

CHI utilizes a portion of its annual block grants and HIP along with leveraged funds to assist eligible
households to access and maintain home ownership. Here are some examples of how CHI has
assisted households with home ownership and home improvement opportunities. Since 2013, $13
million was invested in HIP. Of that, $4 million or 30% was invested in the following five communities
with a majority minority population:

• Lathrup Village: Of the 11 home improvement projects totaling $202,000 since 2013, seven or
64% were minority households.

• Oak Park: Of the 50 home improvement projects totaling $827,700 since 2013, 23 or 46% were
minority households.

2100 Pontiac Lake Road | County Executive Building 41W | Waterford, MI 48328 | Fax (248) 858-5111 | OakGov.com
• Pontiac: Of the 116 home improvement projects totaling $2.2 million since 2013, 74 or 64%
were minority households.

• Royal Oak Township: Of the four home improvement projects totaling $109,600 since 2013,
four or 100% were minority households.

• Southfield: The city administers its own block grant-funded program. Under HOME Consortium
funds, however, of 44 home improvement projects totaling $770,800 since 2013, 25 or 57%
were for minority households.

FHEO also insists that Oakland County must do more to ensure its cities, villages, and townships
create more multi-family residential zoning. This is absurd because Michigan law does not grant the
county the authority to determine zoning.

Oakland County’s administration of federal housing and community development funds complies with
federal law and policy. HUD recognizes that local communities have the flexibility to use block grant
funds to meet the specific needs of the area. Plus, HUD regulations afford local communities discretion
to allocate funds to address needs specific to the area. The regulations governing the receipt and
distribution of block grant funds expressly permit funds to be dedicated to the rehabilitation and
improvement of residential homes.

For 43 years, CHI has enhanced the quality of life for Oakland County’s 1.25 million residents by
promoting equal opportunity and access to housing, community development and public service
programming. As it does every year, Oakland County participated in “April is Fair Housing Month”
activities for 2018, including issuing a proclamation stating and supporting the principles behind fair and
equal access to housing. To learn more about CHI and its programs, go to
oakgov.com/advantageoakland/communities.

For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Oakland County media and communications
officer, at 248-858-1048.

2100 Pontiac Lake Road | County Executive Building 41W | Waterford, MI 48328 | Fax (248) 858-5111 | OakGov.com