Mobile Home Park Accused of Discriminating Against African Americans and Families

The Justice Department recently accused the owner and managers of a 126-space mobile home park in Illinois of violating fair housing law by discriminating against African Americans and families with children.

According to the complaint, the community engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing requirements on African-Americans prospects that weren’t imposed on white prospects, such as completing a written application and having their mobile homes inspected before being accepted into the park. The lawsuit also charges that the defendants threatened to evict a white resident and his niece from the park if her African-American boyfriend didn’t leave, and refused to register the African-American boyfriend as a resident. In addition, the complaint alleged that the defendants didn’t permit families with children to live on one of the four rows at the mobile home park.

Residents contacted an Illinois-based fair housing organization, which in turn contacted the Justice Department. Some of the evidence leading to the filing of the lawsuit came from statements community officials made to testers, individuals who pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices, under the department’s Fair Housing Testing Program.

The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the owner and managers, monetary damages for those allegedly harmed by their actions, and a civil penalty.

“People should not be denied the housing of their choice because of their race or because they have children,” Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “The Justice Department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, which outlaws such discrimination.

The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be proven in federal court.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice