WASHINGTON (KFOR) – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says an investigation found that Cushing Housing, Inc. and property manager Oklahoma Property Management, Inc. (OPMI) discriminated against tenants by failing to adequately respond to known serious racial harassment and retaliated by moving to terminate their tenancy.
HUD officials say the case originally came to their attention when a mother and her daughter filed a complaint with HUD alleging that they had been discriminated against by Cushing Housing and OPMI due to the race of the daughter’s boyfriend.
According to the complaint, when the daughter, who is white, was seen dating a man who is Black, they were repeatedly called racial slurs by other tenants and were threatened with racially-motivated violence.
HUD’s investigation found that the victims repeatedly notified Cushing Housing and OPMI of the racial harassment, but the companies failed to adequately address the harassment.
Officials say when Cushing Housing and OPMI did finally respond, they sent a notice to vacate to the victims as well as the harassers.
“Bigotry and racial discrimination have no place in housing. It is inexcusable for a HUD-funded housing provider to discriminate and retaliate against its tenants while denying them the ability to peacefully enjoy their housing” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “This Letter of Findings of Noncompliance demonstrates HUD’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that entities receiving HUD funding comply with their civil rights obligations and that all individuals have the opportunity to live in HUD-assisted housing, free from discrimination.”
Cushing Housing and OPMI are required to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, because they are both recipients of HUD funds.
KFOR could not reach the former board president of Cushing Housing nor the former owner of OPMI for comment via phone or email, Monday.
In a phone call Monday, the City of Cushing’s city manager confirmed that while their housing authority is still active, they were not aware of the HUD investigation or the letter of noncompliance.
HUD says it will attempt to seek remedial relief for the complainants and public interest relief through changes to policies and procedures through a Voluntary Compliance Agreement/Conciliation Agreement.