WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Voluntary Compliance/Conciliation Agreement (VCA) with the City of Santa Maria, California, resolving allegations that the city’s enactment and enforcement of restrictions on housing for certain farmworker visa-holders in residential areas of the city violated the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act.  Read the agreement.

Pursuant to the VCA, the city agreed to immediately halt enforcement of the ordinance that created the restrictions, repeal the ordinance within 90 days, and refrain from enacting any similar restrictions.  The ordinance imposed a discretionary conditional use permit requirement on housing for employees, which was directed at housing for H-2A foreign national farmworker visa-holders. The city also agreed to review fines imposed under the ordinance for potential refunds and hire an Employee Housing Resource Officer to receive and address complaints regarding discrimination and the quality and safety of occupied employee housing units going forward.  Finally, the city agreed to undertake an effort to analyze and identify any other existing zoning laws that may be discriminatory, in violation of the Fair Housing Act and Title VI.