FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
TUESDAY, MAY 20, 1997                              (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An Illinois city that was accused of
violating the Fair Housing Act by enacting a housing code to
limit the number of Hispanic family members living together has
agreed to pay $200,000 in damages and fines under an agreement
reached with the Justice Department.

     Under the agreement, approved today in U.S. District Court
in Chicago, the city of Waukegan will stop restricting the number
of persons living in a house based on the relation of the
occupants.  Previously, the city had permitted only a husband and
wife, their children, and no more than two additional relatives
to live in a home or apartment, regardless of its size.  The
Department had alleged that this restriction was used as a means
to discriminate against Hispanic residents.  
     "Individuals should not be prohibited from living together
just because they are related to one another," said Acting
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Isabelle Katz
Pinzler.  "If overcrowding is the problem, the law allows
limiting the number of people living together, not the type of

     Today's action resolves a suit filed by the Justice
Department in August 1996.  The suit asserted that city
officials, who were aware that Hispanics often reside in extended
families, engaged in discriminatory conduct by enacting the
family-restrictive rule for the purpose of limiting the number of
Hispanics in Waukegan.  It stated that city officials repeatedly
expressed their animosity toward the new Hispanic residents
moving into the city and said they intended to prevent the
Hispanics from "taking over" Waukegan.

     The Justice Department further alleged that, on numerous
occasions, officials ordered Hispanic families to vacate their
homes, even though their homes were of sufficient size to
accommodate the families.  In fact, based on the records the city
provided to the Justice Department, the only families forced to
vacate their homes were Hispanic.

     Under today's agreement, the city will:

*    no longer enforce the family-composition ordinance;

*    pay $175,000 in damages to the victims of the discriminatory

*    train employees responsible for matters related to zoning
     and land use about the Fair Housing Act's requirements;

*    hire a fair housing counselor who is fluent in both English
     and Spanish to handle housing complaints;

*    hold regularly scheduled meetings to inform the public about
     housing opportunities in the city as well as the city's
     health and safety standards for houses and apartments; and,

*    pay $25,000 in civil penalties to the U.S. government.

     Pinzler noted that the settlement does not in any way affect
the city's ability to prevent overcrowding of dwellings, since
limitations on the total number of persons who may reside in a
dwelling based on its size are not at issue.

     In June 1994, after experiencing a significant increase in
its Hispanic population, Waukegan, which has a population of
approximately 70,000, revised its housing code to include the new
restrictive language.  Before the provision was enacted, the city
was even advised that the new code may violate the Constitution
because of the way it restricts who can live together.  Shortly
thereafter, and after receiving numerous complaints from Waukegan
residents, the Justice Department began investigating the city's
housing policies.  

     "Hispanic families deserve a place to call home just like
everyone else," said James B. Burns, U.S. Attorney in Chicago.
"The Supreme Court has already said that similar restrictions on
the types of family members who can live together violate the

     Individuals or families who believe they may have been
victims of housing discrimination in Waukegan or anywhere else
should call the Department of Justice at 1-800-896-7743.
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