Two discrimination settlements reached

Two local groups Monday received checks for $350 each following the recent settlement of two housing discrimination complaints.

Concerned Citizens Coalition, a local non-profit group that fights housing discrimination, said its board members decided 15 percent of all settlements and court awards would be
donated to groups working with homeless people.

As a result; the group gave checks to the Great Falls Mercy Home and the Native American Center.

"Housing discrimination contributes substantially to homelessness in our community," said Stuart McCarvel, president of Concerned Citizens.

"We have known for some time that American Indians experience discrimination in Housing, but we are equally distressed to see discrimination against families with children," he said.

Two complaints were filed earlier against a Great Falls landlord for refusing to allow children in his apartment complex, and for having different rental terms and conditions for American Indians than for other renters.

The complaints recently were settled, without the landlord admitting guilt, for $4,500. The complaints were initially filed with the state Human Rights Commission, according to Toni Austad, who directs Concerned Citizens in Great Falls.

The donations announced Monday are the largest so far for the group, which also fights housing discrimination in Missoula, according to a press release.