From Connecticut U.S. Attorney:
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced a settlement of a government lawsuit alleging that the Housing Authority for the City of Bridgeport, doing business as Park City Communities, (“HACB”), violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to provide reasonable accommodations to a woman with disabilities who lives in one of the housing authority’s properties.
In November 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a complaint in federal court alleging that HACB discriminated against the victim on the basis of disability, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) attempted to resolve the case with HACB before referring it the U.S. Department of Justice. The complaint alleges that, in July 2014, the victim submitted a reasonable accommodation request to HACB for a transfer out of her apartment because she experienced anxiety and depression due to a homicide that occurred in front of her home. In May 2016, a physician diagnosed the victim with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. HACB denied the request after concluding that the request was “not reasonable.”
In January 2017, after the government filed the lawsuit, the victim was moved to another HACB property and HACB incurred all of the victim’s moving expenses.
Under this settlement, HACB will pay $10,000 to the victim. The settlement also requires HACB employees to undergo fair housing training, and HACB to provide periodic reports to the Justice Department.
“As this lawsuit demonstrates, we will vigorously pursue violations of the Fair Housing Act in Connecticut,” said U.S. Attorney Durham.
“Individuals with disabilities shouldn’t be denied the accommodations that allow them to fully enjoy their homes,” said Anna Maria Farias, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s settlement sends a clear message that HUD and the Department of Justice are fully committed to ensuring that housing providers, especially housing authorities, meet their obligation to comply with federal fair housing laws.”
In a related matter, on November 15, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against HACB alleging violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit is pending.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against by the HACB can contact the Civil Rights Division at 1-800-896-7743, mailbox number 992, or by email at email@example.com.