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STANBACK v. HARRIS

June 9, 1977

ALICE STANBACK, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
PATRICIA HARRIS, ET AL., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WADDY

 Plaintiffs' Motion For A Preliminary Injunction was argued before the Court on June 3, 1977, following the submission by plaintiffs of supporting affidavits and a memorandum of points and authorities, and the separate submissions by defendant Harris and defendant Fort Lincoln New Town Corporation of opposing affidavits and memoranda. All of the parties had previously informed the Court that they had agreed not to present oral testimony, but instead intended to rely on their written submissions. Based upon the oral arguments, and the entire record herein, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. This is a civil action which seeks (1) to prevent further financial commitments to defendant Fort Lincoln New Town Corporation ("Fort Lincoln") by defendant United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") for construction of Fort Lincoln Senior Village ("Senior Village"); (2) to enjoin HUD from entering into a Housing Assistance Payments contract with Fort Lincoln until Senior Village has been brought into compliance with the site requirements of the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. §§ 1701 et seq., the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1401 et seq., and enabling regulations; and (3) to compel Fort Lincoln to comply with the site requirements of the above-named statutes or, in the alternative, to compel Fort Lincoln to cease construction of Senior Village.

 2. Plaintiffs Alice Stanback and Harry Belton are elderly residents of the District of Columbia. Both plaintiffs are eligible for low income housing and have been on the waiting list for publicly-assisted housing for a considerable period of time.

 3. Defendant Patricia Harris is the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 5. The United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended, authorizes the expenditure of federal funds and credit "to assist the several states and their political subdivisions to remedy the unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions and the acute shortage of decent, safe, and sanitary dwellings for families of low income." 42 U.S.C. § 1437. As amended by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, P.L. 93-383, 88 Stat. 662-666, the United States Housing Act of 1937, inter alia, provides for a new housing program for lower-income families, called the Section 8 housing assistance payments program, for "the purpose of aiding lower-income families in obtaining a decent place to live and of promoting economically mixed housing . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 1437f(a). Under Section 8(b)(2) of the amended Act, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is authorized to make housing assistance payments, on behalf of eligible families, to owners or prospective owners who agree to construct housing for occupancy by lower-income families. 42 U.S.C. § 1734f(b)(2).

 6. Section 213 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. § 1439, as implemented by 24 C.F.R. § 880.208(c), provides an opportunity for a unit of local government with an approved housing assistance plan to object to HUD approval of applications submitted under various housing programs, including the Section 8 program, on the ground that such applications are inconsistent with the locality's housing assistance plan. Under Section 213(a), HUD must notify the chief executive of the unit of local government in which the proposed assistance is to be provided that an application is under consideration, and afford the locality the opportunity to object during a thirty-day period beginning on the date of the notification.

 7. In processing Section 8 proposals for approval, HUD field offices are guided by implementing regulations at 24 C.F.R. Part 880 and the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program -- New Construction Processing Handbook, 7420.1 (April 1975), revised by Transmittal No. 4, 7420.1 CHG (November 16, 1976). (Exhibit G to the Clay Affidavit). The regulations set forth the elements of the Section 8 new construction program including the roles and responsibilities of HUD, public housing agencies, developers, owners, and eligible families. Briefly, a HUD Area Office advertises for proposals to be submitted by the owners or developers. Preliminary proposals which meet the Section 8 program requirements, including site, neighborhood, and environmental requirements, are selected for further development into final proposals. If a final proposal is acceptable to HUD, an agreement will be executed which provides that upon completion of the project the owner and HUD will enter into a housing assistance payments contract under which HUD makes payments on behalf of the eligible lower-income families.

 8. 24 C.F.R. § 880.112 provides that sites for new construction projects must be approved by HUD as meeting various site and neighborhood standards. Section 880.112(g) establishes the following standard:

 
The housing shall be accessible to social, recreational, educational, commercial, and health facilities and services, and other municipal facilities and services that are at least equivalent to those typically found in neighborhoods consisting largely of unsubsidized, standard housing of similar market rents.

 9. The National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. §§ 1701 et seq., provides, inter alia, for a program of mortgage insurance to finance various types of housing projects. Section 221(d)(4) of the Act, 12 U.S.C. § 1751l(d)(4), establishes a program for the financing of multifamily rental housing for moderate income families with a priority to those displaced by urban renewal or other governmental action. Elderly (62 years of age or older), physically handicapped, and displaced persons are considered families under the program. 12 U.S.C. § 1715l(f).

 10. Regulations implementing the Section 221(d)(4) program are found at 24 C.F.R. Part 221. Under 24 C.F.R. § 221.502, a project sponsor must first submit an application for the issuance of a site appraisal and market analysis letter (SAMA). Also, an application for a conditional commitment or form commitment for insurance of a mortgage on a project must be submitted by an approved mortgagee and by the sponsor of the project. The issuance of a SAMA letter indicates completion of the site appraisal and market analysis stage to determine initial acceptability of the site and recognition of a specific market need. See 24 C.F.R. § 221.509(a)(1). The separate issuance of a firm commitment ...


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