FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF JOHNSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA REGARDING ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania for alleged violations to the federal Fair Housing Act.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, charges the City of Johnstown violated federal civil rights law by denying the American Legion regional chapter's application for the use of an old school building as transitional housing for homeless veterans because of the disabilities of the prospective occupants.
"We are firmly committed to enforcing the federal rights of individuals regarding adequate access to housing, especially on behalf of those who have served our country in the armed forces," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for victims of discrimination, including the American Legion, which has been thwarted in its efforts to provide housing for veterans since 1999. The suit also seeks civil penalties and injunctive relief barring further discrimination.
The complaint arose from a referral from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mary Beth Buchanan, United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said, "The Department of Justice and this office will pursue every available legal remedy against unlawful discrimination in any form."
Individuals who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination should contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at (800) 669-9777. Additional information is available on HUD's website at www.hud.gov and the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing.