Skip to main content
Press Release

Justice Department Secures Settlement in Discrimination Lawsuit for Blocking Affordable Housing Development in Louisiana

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that the Town of Franklinton (Franklinton), Louisiana, has agreed to pay $230,000 in damages and civil penalties to settle allegations that it violated the Fair Housing Act when it blocked a proposed affordable housing development for low-income tenants in a predominantly white part of Franklinton.

Under the agreement, Franklinton will also facilitate the development of new affordable housing to replace the units that it previously blocked, amend its zoning ordinance to increase the amount of land available for the development of multi-family housing and create a land donation program to support the development of affordable housing.   

“Developing affordable housing in high opportunity neighborhoods can have a transformative impact on the livelihoods of low-income residents of all races,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Fair Housing Act prohibits cities and towns from blocking low-income housing development because they believe that Black people will make up a large share of the future residents. Officials must ensure that affordable housing opportunities are made available and that all families have access to them regardless of race. The Justice Department will continue to hold jurisdictions accountable when they abuse their zoning power to deny equal access to housing opportunity.”

“Access to affordable housing free from discrimination is a right bestowed upon all Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “Denying affordable housing development for low-income individuals delays full achievement of the American Dream. The successful resolution of this Fair Housing Act matter provides low-income residents with the resources needed to achieve generational success.”

The complaint, filed on June 27, alleges that Franklinton discriminated because of race and color when it refused to approve zoning for a 40-unit development called Quail Run that would have been financed through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), a tax incentive that subsidizes the construction and rehabilitation of rental housing affordable to low-income tenants. Franklinton is highly segregated, and although approximately 48% of its population is Black, that population is concentrated in the town’s north side. Quail Run would have been built on the south side, in a neighborhood that is over 80% white. Over 80% of Black households in Franklinton qualify as low-income and Black residents would have been significantly more likely than white residents to qualify to live in Quail Run. The construction of Quail Run would have disproportionately provided much needed housing opportunities to Black families in the part of Franklinton where the residents are predominantly white. 

As alleged in the complaint, Franklinton’s Zoning Commission unanimously recommended that Franklinton grant zoning approval for the development of Quail Run. However, the Mayor refused to consider the Zoning Commission’s recommendation and the town later denied Quail Run’s zoning application without the City Council ever holding a vote on the matter. As a result of Franklinton’s action, the developers had to return the tax credits and were not able to develop housing and the land remained vacant. The developers filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which later referred the matter to the Justice Department.

“Low-income residents should have equal access to affordable housing in well resourced, low poverty neighborhoods,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Diane Shelley of HUD’s Office for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Jurisdictions that deny the development of affordable housing in neighborhoods for fear that future residents will be a certain race perpetuate segregation and violate the Fair Housing Act, which remains as important today as it was in 1968. HUD is proud to work with the Justice Department to root out illegal discrimination and uphold civil rights law.”

Under the settlement, which was approved on Friday June 28 by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Franklinton will, among other things:

  • pay $205,000 in damages to Quail Run’s developers and $25,000 in a civil penalty to the United States;
  • approve and support the development of at least 40 units of affordable housing to replace the number of units that would have been included in the Quail Run development;
  • rezone at least 20 acres of available land to make it available for the development of affordable housing;
  • create a land donation program to support the development of affordable housing;
  • revise its zoning procedures to increase transparency and ensure that uniform non-discriminatory standards are applied in Franklinton’s residential land use decisions;
  • provide training on fair housing and zoning procedures to its officials and employees who are involved in land use and zoning; and
  • hold a public listening session on the town’s need for housing and host an educational program for Franklinton’s residents to learn about their fair housing rights.

Individuals who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination practices can file a complaint with HUD or a lawsuit in federal or state court. Individuals must file their complaint with HUD within one year of a housing discrimination incident or file a lawsuit in federal or state court within two years of an incident. To report discrimination in land use or zoning decisions, individuals may also contact Civil Rights Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at (833) 591-0291 or report a violation of civil rights online at

The department recently filed three Statements of Interest in land use and zoning cases alleging discrimination on the basis of race. More information about the application of the Fair Housing Act to state and local land use and zoning decisions can be found in the Justice Department and HUD’s Joint Statement.  For more information about housing discrimination laws call (202) 514-4713 or visit the Justice Department website at

Updated July 1, 2024

Civil Rights
Fair Housing
Press Release Number: 24-833