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Justice Department Obtains $70,000 Settlement of Fair Housing Lawsuit against Indiana Housing Authority

The Justice Department recently announced that it has reached a settlement with the Housing Authority of the City of Anderson, Indiana, which owns and operates 143 public housing units in the city, to resolve allegations that the Housing Authority had discriminated against residents of these units on the basis of sex and disability.

Under the settlement agreement, the Housing Authority will pay $70,000 to compensate the seven victims of discrimination identified by the Justice Department. As part of the agreement, the Housing Authority of the City of Anderson will implement nondiscrimination policies and procedures, provide fair housing training for its employees, refrain from engaging in any prohibited conduct in the future, and make periodic reports to the department confirming compliance.

The lawsuit against the Housing Authority of the City of Anderson alleged that employees of the Housing Authority subjected female tenants to unlawful sexual harassment and discriminated against tenants with disabilities. The disability discrimination included repeatedly denying requests for reasonable accommodations, including requests to be transferred to first floor units and requests for a designated accessible parking space.

“Sexual harassment of women and discrimination against persons with disabilities are unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to vigorously combat such discrimination, including in public housing.”

“Enjoying a safe place to live, free of discrimination and sexual harassment is a fundamental right we all are entitled to,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler. “My office remains committed to aggressively pursuing the enforcement of civil rights and fighting discrimination in Indiana.”

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777 or through its website at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp.