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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST RUSTON, LOUISIANA PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY ALLEGING RACE DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING PRACTICES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2013

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Housing Authority for the City of Ruston, La., has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against African-American tenants, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The Ruston Housing Authority is a public housing authority that provides housing for persons of low income in Ruston. Currently, the Ruston Housing Authority owns and maintains five housing complexes in Ruston.

The complaint alleges that the Ruston Housing Authority maintained a racially segregated housing authority by steering and assigning applicants to its five complexes based on race, rather than in order of their placement on the Ruston Housing Authority’s waiting list. The complaint also alleges that the Ruston Housing Authority’s discriminatory assignment practices have harmed dozens of applicants and tenants who were assigned to segregated housing or delayed housing because of their race.

“Access to housing free from racial discrimination is everyone’s right, including those who seek public housing assistance,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.”

“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to addressing unlawful discriminatory practices and enforcing anti-discrimination laws,” said Stephanie A. Finley, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “Today’s filing is an example of our continuing efforts to end discrimination.”

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.


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