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DOJ Settles Racial Discrimination Case with Oklahoma Housing Authority

The Legal Assistance Service confirms that the applicant and his daughter have been denied placement because they are black.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has settled his racial discrimination case against the Lone Wolf, Oklahoma City Housing Agency and two of its former employees. Under the terms of their settlement, the Housing Authority plus David Haynes and Myra Hess pay $ 75,000 and must take other steps to remedy violations of the Fair Housing Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Fair Housing Act, 42 USC 3601 et seq., “Prohibits discrimination by direct housing providers such as landlords and real estate companies as well as other bodies such as municipalities, banks or other credit institutions and home insurance companies whose discriminatory practices make people based on race or color, religion, gender, national origin, marital status or disability no apartment available. ”Title VI maintains the same conditions for institutions that receive federal funding.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

The consent decree approved by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma provides that $ 65,000 goes directly to the applicant and her child, and $ 10,000 is reserved for Oklahoma Inc.’s legal assistance services. The organization was responsible for conducting fair apartment tests that exposed discrimination by the Housing Authority. Employees and directors must also attend mandatory training on the Fair Housing Act and Title VI, develop non-discriminatory practices, and submit to other requirements as described.

The United States lawsuit, originally filed in December 2020, alleged that housing officials had notified a legal aid officer who contacted them on behalf of the applicant that units were available. However, when the housing authorities learned that she and her daughter were black, they denied her application. At that time, she informed the complainant that no apartments were available. Legal Aid conducted its tests and a white tester was told that she and her daughter had several apartments available. It then showed her three vacant apartments. The very next day, housing authorities told a black tester that there were no apartments available for her and her granddaughter and did not show her an apartment.

“Housing authorities are being entrusted with taxpayers’ money to help some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. “It is abhorrent that a housing authority should refuse any applicant a home on the basis of race. The Justice Department is committed to vigorous enforcement of federal law to ensure that no one is unlawfully denied placement because of race or other prohibited reasons.

“The days of racial discrimination in housing should be well behind us,” said Demetria McCain of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunities. “HUD is pleased that the Department of Justice and HUD’s Fair Housing Initiative partner, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, have taken appropriate action to stop the housing authority’s illegal behavior.”

Sources:

Lawsuit settled after Oklahoma woman daughter allegedly refused placement on grounds of race

Department of Justice settles racial discrimination lawsuit against Oklahoma Housing Authority

The Fair Housing Act – Department of Justice

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