FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES LOUISIANA APARTMENT OWNERS
FOR ENGAGING IN RACE DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the owners and managers of the Foster Apartments, located in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, alleging discrimination against African-Americans who were seeking housing.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, names the owners of Foster Apartments as defendants. The complaint alleges that the defendants discouraged black persons from renting an apartment while encouraging white applicants to do so. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the defendants told black prospective applicants that they had no apartments available for rent while at the same time telling white applicants that apartments were available.
“Individuals should have the liberty to make their own housing decisions and not be denied housing opportunities because of their race,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously prosecute incidents of housing discrimination.”
The lawsuit seeks an order prohibiting the defendants from engaging in unlawful housing discrimination at Foster Apartments. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages for victims of the defendants' unlawful conduct and payment of a civil penalty.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. Since January 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed more than 115 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, including 40 based on race or color discrimination.
Individuals who believe that they may have been the victim of discrimination at Foster Apartments should call the Justice Department's Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at 1-800-896-7743 (ext. 92). For more information about the Civil Rights Division, and the laws it enforces, go to www.usdoj.crt.