DUBUQUE, Iowa - An agreement will end discriminatory policies for Dubuque's low-income housing program. It comes less than a year after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development accused the city of racism.
The city says any appearance of discrimination was a mistake.The agreement ends a policy the city says was intended to help people already living in Dubuque.
Up until 2011 Dubuque used a point system to help filter the number of people who were accepted into the housing assistance program.
Applicants already living in Dubuque automatically got more points than people from out of town and out of state.
H.U.D. says that system ended up making it harder for African American people moving from the Chicago area to get assistance in Dubuque.
City leaders have said that was never their intention. And they dropped that point system in 2011.
Dubuque NAACP President and City Council Member, Lynn Sutton said, "Something was done. Whether it was intentional or not, it was done. Now with these findings we have to fix it. There is no if, ands or buts or maybes. We just have to fix it and move forward. "
As part of a new agreement with H.U.D. Dubuque must start outreach activities for minorities and staff must take fair housing training.
The city will also need to get approval from H.U.D for any future policy changes.
City leaders say they even plan to take it a step further.
Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligan said, "The City of Dubuque is looking forwarded to working with HUD to create a Housing Assistance Program that will be considered a national model."