Tuesday, November 8, 2016

HUD Announced Settlement Between East Chicago Housing Authority and a Fair Housing Organization

Source: New York Times
In a recent blog post we discussed how nearly 1,000 residents were displaced in an East Chicago lead crisis. Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced an agreement between the East Chicago Housing Authority and a fair housing organization, which resolved multiple complaints of housing discrimination, which stemmed from displacement issues.

According to a HUD Press Release, "The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, on behalf of residents, alleged the East Chicago Housing Authority violated the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act with respect to the relocation of residents at West Calumet Housing Complex due to soil surrounding the complex being contaminated with lead and arsenic. The Shriver Center’s complaints alleged the housing authority engaged in discriminatory housing practices in its management of the relocation because residents were being moved into poor, segregated communities with similar or serious levels of environmental contaminations. The agreement resolves the complaints and serves as the foundation to ensure residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex are relocated in a coordinated manner to safe housing in areas of opportunity.

Terms of the agreement include relocation benefits; the full return of most security deposits; mobility and relocation counseling for households; enhanced mobility and relocation counseling for households with a member who has a disability and/or elevated blood lead levels; expedited assessments of proposed new units for households with residents with elevated blood lead levels, or those who currently have an impairment associated with lead poisoning; the creation of a housing mobility program to provide households with information about opportunity areas; higher rent subsidies to households as a need-based reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities and families with children with elevated blood lead levels; and on-site risk assessments to determine and report the existence, nature, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards in any potential new units. Read the agreement for the complete list of terms."

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