Summit County, Utah Moderate Income Housing Report Raises Questions of Accuracy

Attorneys representing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other civil rights groups have asked the United States District Court for the District of Utah to disregard data containing errors and inaccuracies submitted by defendants in a fair housing case.

In 2005, the NAACP and its Salt Lake City Branch filed suit to end housing discrimination in unincorporated Summit County, Utah. The NAACP contends that Summit County officials have worked to systematically exclude racial minorities, persons of color and moderate income people from living in the Snyderville Basin of Summit County. In addition, the plaintiffs allege that Summit County officials never enacted a valid housing plan as required by the Utah Moderate Income Housing Act.

As part of the litigation, Summit County officials provided the plaintiffs with a list of 1,838 affordable housing units located in the Snyderville Basin. An examination of the list showed that the county's report did not accurately reflect current housing prices because it used incorrect definitions of moderate housing income levels and made misleading claims about the availability of deed restricted housing.

Bruce S. Gordon, President & CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said, "In strengthening equal opportunity in all communities it will be important that the NAACP remain committed to advancing affordable housing opportunities and ending discriminatory practices that impact African Americans and persons of protected national origin, the disabled, senior citizens and persons and families of low and moderate income."

Jeanetta Williams, President of the NAACP Salt Lake City Branch, and Angela Ciccolo, Deputy General Counsel, echoed the concern for affordable housing, saying, "The many service industry employees who work in Summit County just cannot afford to live there. Based on our assessment, the county has only approximately 150 moderate income housing units, not more than 1,800 as reported by the county." The National Council of La Raza and the Disabled Rights Action Committee are among the co-plaintiffs in the case.

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