Dorce v. City of New York

Date Filed: 09/03/2020

On September 3 2020, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational and Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in support of plaintiffs challenging New York City’s Third Party Transfer (TPT) Program. The brief focuses on the racially discriminatory nature of the program and its impact on rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, leading to the loss of homes and wealth for Black and Latinx families. Since 1996, the TPT Program has transferred properties with outstanding municipal debt to third-party owners, often nonprofit caretakers or for-profit developers, without adequate notice and without compensating the original owners.

The TPT Program is one of many government programs across the country that put the homes of Black and Latinx families in jeopardy, and hinder wealth acquisition in communities of color. And the TPT Program, like many other programs, results in people losing their homes in part because they cannot afford basic utilities, like water and sewage services.  

On December 22, 2021, LDF and in partnership with Justice in Aging and Mobilization for Justice, filed another amicus brief in Dorce v. City of New York. The brief argues that plaintiffs have adequately alleged that the TPT Program violates the Takings Clause of the U.S. and New York State Constitutions by unlawfully stripping older homeowners of color of wealth and equity without just compensation. The brief also argues that plaintiffs have adequately alleged that the program deprives communities of color of their constitutional right to equal protection.

In 2019, LDF released a report that explored the water affordability crisis and its devastating impact on Black communities. Water/Color: A Study of Race and the Water Affordability Crisis in America’s Cities uses the cities of Baltimore and Cleveland as case studies to detail the spike in metropolitan water prices, as well as to highlight the link between the failure to pay a water bill and the loss of Black homeownership.

LDF has also recently filed litigation in Cleveland and Detroit addressing discriminatory water practices by these municipalities that impact Black communities.

Read LDF’s brief challenging the TPT Program here.