Senate Announces Joint Public Hearing On Housing Discrimination

(Albany, NY) The Senate today announced that the Senate Standing Committees on Housing, Consumer Protections, and Investigation and Government Operations, will hold a joint public hearing on housing discrimination on Long Island. This hearing is a direct response to a Newsday investigation that revealed racial discrimination and evidence of unequal treatment by real estate agents. Senate Committee Chairs, Brian Kavanagh, Kevin Thomas, and James Skoufis will co-chair this hearing on Long Island. The hearing will take place on Thursday, December 12 at 10:00 AM at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Nassau County.

“There is no place in New York for discrimination and predatory practices. The Newsday investigation uncovered a disturbing and unacceptable situation that is denying New Yorkers fair housing opportunities,” Senator Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The Senate Democratic Majority will be looking into this, and I applaud Senators Brian Kavanagh, James Skoufis, and Kevin Thomas for quickly organizing their committees to set up a hearing on this issue. This hearing will help the Senate Majority address this situation and these unfair housing practices over the coming Legislative Session.”

Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Housing said, “Housing discrimination is unacceptable and illegal, and the results of Newsday's investigation are alarming and deserve immediate attention. I look forward to working with my colleagues to investigate the situation and identify steps we can take to prevent discrimination and protect all New Yorkers' rights to fair access to housing.”

Senator James Skoufis, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations said, “The disturbing results of this three-year examination by Newsday makes it glaringly clear that the State must respond to this situation and immediately prioritize accountability. What’s happening on Long Island is likely happening in other parts of the state as well and our Senate will not stand by while New Yorkers are discriminated against in the very place they call home. I look forward to co-chairing the upcoming hearing with my colleagues and shining a light on what exactly happened and what our next steps must be.”

Senator Kevin Thomas, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Consumer Protections said, “Discrimination has no place in our communities. We cannot and will not accept unequal treatment of homebuyers anywhere in New York State, especially on Long Island. My Senate colleagues and I are taking action to fight for fair housing and ensure that every New Yorker is treated with dignity, professionalism, and respect.”

Senator John Brooks said, “The outcome of Newsday’s investigation into Long Island’s housing market is alarming but hardly a surprise. No matter how subtle it may seem on the surface, discrimination in practice continues to pervade our region under a shroud of complacent silence. The report published by Newsday is a much needed wakeup call to this generation’s homebuyers and market purveyors as well as a reminder to the rest of us that inclusivity, respect, and dignity for all must be the foundations of our ever-evolving communities.”

Senator Jim Gaughran said, “The Newsday investigation revealed a horrifying pattern of pervasive and discriminatory real estate practices. This is clearly a failure by the real estate industry and government on all levels. The Senate will be holding a hearing into this crisis to ensure these ugly, illegal practices come to an end. I am committed to working with my partners in government to ensure they begin serious enforcement of the protections the law has put into place so that we may root out these horrors once and for all.”

Senator Todd Kaminsky said, “Newsday’s devastating report reveals that the status quo in the Long Island housing market is not acceptable. Discrimination, whether overt or subtle, should never be tolerated. As someone who was raised here and is currently raising a family here too, I firmly believe that diversity is our great strength and needs to be encouraged and embraced. I look forward to participating in these critical hearings to see how we might change the law to make a more fair experience for all homebuyers on the Island.”

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “All Long Islanders deserve the opportunity to pursue the American dream without facing discrimination. This hearing is an opportunity to hear from the community so that we can better address the issues uncovered by Newsday's recent investigation.”

Senator Monica Martinez said, “Discrimination of any sort in our communities is abhorrent and reprehensible. Any perceived injustices, or reports of alleged discrimination, must be taken seriously and be immediately and thoroughly investigated. The report made by Newsday calls for increased enforcement and accountability of fair housing practices in our region regardless of race, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation or national origin. I commend the Chairs of the Housing, Construction and Community Development, Consumer Protection and Investigations and Government Operations committees, for taking the initiative in addressing concerns individuals may have encountered in the realty market.”