BOSTON — A federal judge has ordered local, state, and federal agencies to expand efforts to open suburban Boston housing to black families. Ruling in a lawsuit filed 11 years ago, United States District Judge Walter J. Skinner ordered Massachusetts to give the Boston Fair Housing Commission authority to issue subpoenas, levy fines, and start civil actions to attack discrimination.
Judge Skinner agreed with the charge in the lawsuit by the Boston National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) failed to use its grant programs to produce an adequate supply of affordable integrated family housing in the metropolitan area.
Skinner's findings dealt with HUD practices between 1977 to 1982. But he wrote, ``The conditions, exacerbated by HUD's pattern of inaction, apparently continue to exist and are currently remediable.''
The ruling, made public June 26, is a ``blockbuster -- a whole new world,'' said Dianne Wilkerson of the NAACP's Boston chapter. ``This ruling changes life for minorities in Boston in some very major ways.''
A HUD spokeswoman said the department had not decided whether to appeal.