Advocates Demand Halt to Eviction Proceedings Against Domestic Violence Survivor

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan recently sent a letter to the Inkster Housing Commission to halt the eviction proceedings against a pregnant woman facing eviction because she reported incidents of domestic violence to police.

The ACLU said that the resident had been attacked in her unit several times by the father of her child. Although she obtained personal protection orders against him in 2009 and 2013 and he has been convicted of domestic violence against her, the ACLU said that the housing commission considered him her “guest” and was therefore evicting her for the “disturbance of the peace” and property damage he caused while assaulting her.

The ACLU claimed that, on a number of occasions earlier this year, the resident called police after the man forced his way into her unit and assaulted her. After each incident, the housing commission’s police officer allegedly warned that she risked eviction if she made similar calls in the future.

Though the man was later convicted of domestic assault, he once again forced his way into the unit and brutalized the resident by pulling her by the hair up the stairs and punching and kicking her repeatedly. Worried about being evicted, the resident did not call police, but when she saw him outside a few days later, she said she feared for her life and called police. After this last incident, the ACLU said that the housing commission informed the resident that she was being evicted because she could not control her guests and claimed that people like her were ruining the neighborhood and did not deserve to live there.

In the letter, the ACLU of Michigan and Fair Housing Center urged the housing commission to halt the eviction proceedings and amend its policies or risk violating federal and state laws including the federal Violence Against Women Act, the Fair Housing Act, and Michigan’s Civil Rights Act.

“Putting a pregnant woman and her kids out on the street before Christmas because of the actions of her abuser is cruel and unconscionable,” Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan legal director, said in a statement. “The Inkster Housing Commission must put an end to this illegal policy that re-victimizes women and reinforces the dangerous stereotype that women who experience domestic violence must be allowing it to happen.”

Source: ACLU of Michigan