277 F.3d 138 (2nd Cir. 2002), 01-6086, Auburn Housing Authority v Martinez

Docket Nº:Docket No. 01-6086
Citation:277 F.3d 138
Party Name:AUBURN HOUSING AUTHORITY, NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY, AND PLATTSBURGH HOUSING AUTHORITY, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES, v. MEL MARTINEZ, AS SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS,
Case Date:January 07, 2002
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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277 F.3d 138 (2nd Cir. 2002)

AUBURN HOUSING AUTHORITY, NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY, AND PLATTSBURGH HOUSING AUTHORITY, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,

v.

MEL MARTINEZ, AS SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS,

Docket No. 01-6086

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

January 7, 2002

Argued: October 29, 2001

Defendants appeal from a final judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (William H. Pauley, III, J.) granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denying defendants' motion for summary judgment. The district court ordered the Secretary to comply with his obligations under section 519(n) of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998, Pub. L. No. 105- 276, tit. V, 112 Stat. 2461, 2518-2670 (1998) (codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1437g(n) (Supp. 1998)).

Affirmed.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Elizabeth Wolstein, Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York (Mary Jo White, United States Attorney, Southern District of New York, Sara L. Shudofsky and Gideon A. Schor, Assistant United States Attorneys, Southern District of New York, of counsel, on the brief) for Defendants-Appellants.

Henry Schoenfeld, New York City Housing Authority, New York, New York (Ricardo Elias Morales, General Counsel, and Nancy M. Harnett, of counsel, New York City Housing Authority, New York, New York, on the brief) for Plaintiff-Appellee New York City Housing Authority.

Ross Tisci, Boyle & Anderson, P.C., Auburn, New York, for Plaintiff-Appellee Auburn Housing Authority.

Lori Cantwell, Law Office of Rich & Lori Cantwell, Plattsburgh, New York, for Plaintiff-Appellee Plattsburgh Housing Authority.

Before: Pooler and Katzmann, Circuit Judges, and Hurd, District Judge.[*]

Katzmann, Circuit Judge

Introduction

The Defendants, Mel Martinez, Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (collectively "HUD"), appeal from a decision of the District Court for the Southern District of New York (William H. Pauley, III, J.) denying their motion for summary judgment and granting the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs, Auburn Housing Authority, New York City Housing Authority, and Plattsburgh Housing Authority (collectively "the Housing Authorities"), brought this lawsuit to enforce section 519(n) of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998, Pub. L. No. 105- 276, tit. V, 112 Stat. 2461, 2518-2670 (1998) (codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1437g(n) (Supp. 1998)) ("QHWRA"), which the plaintiffs argue requires HUD to

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provide funding to approximately 7000 of the plaintiffs' public housing units. HUD contends that section 226 of the 1999 Veteran Affairs and HUD Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 105-276, 112 Stat. 2461, 2490 (1998) ("the 1999 Appropriations Act"), permanently bars HUD from implementing section 519(n) of QHWRA, which was also enacted in the 1999 Appropriations Act. The district court rejected HUD's position and ordered the Secretary to comply with section 519(n). For the reasons stated below, we affirm the district court's decision.

Background

This case arises from a disagreement as to the interpretation of two provisions in the 1999 Appropriations Act that, on the surface, appear to conflict. In order to evaluate properly the parties' arguments on appeal, it is helpful first to discuss the federal public housing program and to set out the statutory provisions at issue in this case.

The Federal Public Housing Program

Pursuant to the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. § 1437 et. seq. ("the Housing Act"), HUD provides financial assistance to public housing throughout the country primarily through two types of annual grants to public housing agencies -- an Operating Fund and a Capital Fund. An Operating Fund grant provides funding for the routine expenses of operating and managing public housing developments, while a Capital Fund grant provides funds for capital improvements to those developments and for related expenses. Congress appropriates amounts for the Operating Fund and the Capital Fund annually. HUD, in turn, allocates these funds to the public housing agencies through an Operating Fund formula and a Capital Fund formula. The public housing agencies receive their annual allocations of operating and capital funds based on agreements with HUD that are amended annually. Prior to the passage of QHWRA in 1998, federal funds could only be used to support housing units developed through the federal public housing program, with some very limited exceptions.

The Two Statutory Provisions At Issue

QHWRA was enacted on October 21, 1998 as part of the 1999 Appropriations Act. See 112 Stat. at 2518-2670. QHWRA amends Section 9 of the Housing Act by, among other things, making certain public housing units developed pursuant to state law eligible for federal assistance. Id. at 2551, 2559-60. Specifically, section 519(n) of QHWRA provides that for purposes of determining allocations under the Operating Fund and Capital Fund formulas, HUD is to deem certain state-aided housing units in New York and Massachusetts to be federal public housing and to provide assistance for those units. Id. at 2559-60. As to New York, section 519(n) states in relevant part:

[T]he Secretary shall deem any covered locally developed public housing units as public housing units developed under this title and such units shall be eligible for such assistance....

For purposes of this paragraph, the term "covered locally developed housing units" means... not more than 7,000 public housing units developed pursuant to laws of the state of New York and that received debt service and operating subsidies pursuant to such laws....

Id. at 2560.

The 1999 Appropriations Act also included administrative provisions, such as section 226, which stated:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds in this Act or any other Act may hereafter be used by the Secretary

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of Housing and Urban Development to determine allocations or provide assistance for operating subsidies or modernization of certain State and city funded and locally developed public housing units, as defined for purposes of a statutory paragraph, notwithstanding the deeming by statute of such units to be public housing units developed under the United States Housing Act of 1937, unless such unit was so assisted before October 1, 1998.

Id. at 2490.

The Housing Authorities' Requests for Funding under § 519(n) of QHWRA

In the Spring of 2000, the Housing Authorities filed applications with HUD's regional offices, requesting that HUD deem certain locally developed public housing units to be covered units so they could qualify for funding under section 519(n). The plaintiffs were informed that a determination regarding the requests would have to be obtained from HUD's Washington, D.C. office. To date, HUD has failed to provide the requested funding to the Housing Authorities based on its understanding that section 226 permanently bars the agency from doing so.

On June 18, 2000, New York Representative Rick Lazio, Chairman of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity of the Committee on Banking and Financial Services and principal author of QHWRA, wrote then-HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo regarding the Housing Authorities' requests for funding. Congressman Lazio explained that although the 1999 Appropriations Act prohibited HUD from implementing section 519(n) for fiscal year 1999, the 2000 Appropriations Act did not contain any such restriction. On June 30, 2000, several Members of Congress wrote Secretary Cuomo, requesting that the approximately 7000 units of state-assisted public housing in Plattsburgh, Auburn, and New York City be transferred into the federal housing program pursuant to section 519(n) of QHWRA. The Members expressed their view that section 226 only limited the Secretary's ability to expend certain funds and that sections 226 and 519(n) should be read together to give effect to both provisions.

On August 9, 2000, before the instant litigation began, Harold Lucas, HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, wrote to the Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Veterans Affairs, HUD, and Independent Agencies, informing them of the Housing...

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