FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH CHICAGO APARTMENT OWNER FOR DISCRIMINATING AGAINST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced today that it has resolved a lawsuit against the owner of rental units on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois, alleging discrimination against a family with children who were seeking housing.
The consent decree, which was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois yesterday, requires the owner to pay $30,000 to the family and to attend fair housing training.
The complaint, filed on May 7, 2004, alleged that the owner of 6353-6355 West School Street, a 6-unit rental property in Chicago, refused to rent an apartment to a married couple because they had three children.
"Families with children are among those most in need of affordable housing. Landlords who break the law by refusing to rent to them place unacceptable burdens on American families," said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Today's settlement and others like it protect families' right to discrimination-free housing. The Justice Department will continue to protect vigorously the civil rights of all Americans to discrimination-free access to housing."
The case was referred to the Justice Department by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the Civil Rights Division. This year, the Civil Rights Division will file a near-record number of lawsuits challenging patterns or practices violating the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. The Division has already filed more fair housing lawsuits in 2004 than in all of 2003. Since January 21, 2001, the Justice Departmentís Civil Rights Division has filed 127 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, including 29 based on familial status discrimination.
The Division has been particularly active in the Chicago area during 2004, filing three lawsuits challenging housing discrimination on the basis of race or familial status (having children under the age of 18), and also taking enforcement actions in several other matters referred by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, the Division filed a major lawsuit against Chicago-based First American Bank for failing to provide credit services to minority homebuyers; access to adequate credit is a significant prerequisite to minority homeownership.