As previously noted, the decree provides the class with 450 desegregative Section 8 certificates to help remedy the lack of decent, affordable and rationally integrated housing opportunities in Allegheny County.
The decree also generates federal and local resources for the replacement of 100 units that were demolished at Talbot Towers. These units, like all new units built in the County, are to be scattered site units. In addition, the decree contemplates additional public housing to replace demolished, obsolete or dilapidated housing, which will entail the future commitment of HUD's budget authority.
The decree requires Allegheny County to set aside 25% of its annual, allocable Community Development Block Grant ("CDBG") funds for seven years to be targeted to seven municipalities to which African American use of public housing and Section 8 has been confined: Clairton, Duquesne, Rankin, Braddock, McKees Rocks, Homestead, and Wilkinsburg. Based on recent CDBG allocations, the decree will cause roughly $ 4,000,000.00 per year for seven years to flow through community based organizations to be spent in neglected African American communities in Allegheny County.
The decree also requires the County to set aside 25% of its existing, unencumbered CDBG funds as of July 1994, for funding of the FHSC and the Task Force until April 1995 and for targeted projects thereafter. From April 1995, the decree requires the County to use, over and above the 25% set aside, $ 500,000.00 annually for funding of the FHSC and the Task Force. The decree also requires that HUD provide funding for the FHSC in the amount of $ 200,000.00 for the first year and up to $ 200,000.00 per year for the succeeding six years.
The decree also is written to ensure that those resources defendants are required to spend for seven years to accomplish desegregation are used to leverage other federal, state, and private funds. Defendants must specifically apply for all reasonably available assistance that would materially assist in performing the activities, objectives, and purposes called for in the decree.
Thus, as the decree provides class members with wide array of housing and community development opportunities, it falls within the range of reasonableness.
6. Other Factors
The consent decree is the result of good faith, arms' length negotiations. Harris, 654 F. Supp. at 1049. The parties participated in extensive negotiations from the time the court set the matter for trial in late May 1994, until the time that the decree was preliminarily approved on August 31, 1994. The decree is the result of intense, adversarial negotiations that involved not only each HUD Assistant Secretary, but also the Associate Attorney General of the United States.
Furthermore, in evaluating the consent decree, the court may lend significant weight to the professional judgment of counsel participating in the litigation. Id. at 1055. In this case, the consent decree was negotiated and recommended by the court by highly experienced counsel, knowledgeable of civil rights class action litigation generally and housing desegregation litigation specifically.
Because of the substantial discovery undertaken in this litigation, the complexity of the issues, the support of the class for the relief, HUD's stipulated liability under Title VIII, and the fact that this may be the most comprehensive consent decree of its kind, the court finds that the decree is fair, adequate and reasonable as a resolution of this litigation.
United States District Judge
Date: December 22, 1994