JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – St. Louis has officially been suspended from participating in the Fair Housing Assistance Program.
The news of the suspension should come as no surprise, following the passage of the employment discrimination bill, SB 43, last year, with changes to statute placing the state in a position of noncompliance.
In a letter written in July of last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote to the administration of Gov. Eric Greitens, saying that signing SB 43 would make Missouri law no longer “substantially equivalent” to federal law, with the HUD’s Bryan Greene writing that Missouri must fix the new law to meet the federal rules by March 1st if the state wished to continue participating in the program.
As March rolled in, the legislature has not opted to address the issue so far, though some representatives have sponsored legislation seeking to address the issues deriving from the passage of SB 43.
On March 3, Anna Maria Farias, the assistant secretary for fair housing, wrote to the St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency (SLCREA) to inform them that the city’s participation in the program would be suspended through May 15.
The letter says that, if during that period the issues are resolved, the suspension will be withdrawn. However, if it is not addressed by the May 15 deadline, then HUD will proceed to withdraw SLCREA from the program.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.