HOPE of Wheaton, IL settles family status complaint

HOPE Fair Housing Center
2100 Manchester, Bldg. B, Suite 1070
Wheaton, IL 60187-4579
(630) 690-6500
Fax: (630) 690-6586
For Immediate Release Date: July 2, 1999
Contact: Bernard J. Kleina
Phone: (630) 690-6500
Fax: (630) 690-6586

Wheaton, Illinois - HOPE announces settlement of family status discrimination complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The owner of 7 apartments and additional commercial property located in River Forest, Illinois pays $20,000 to settle a family status discrimination complaint. The owners allegedly refused to rent a 2 bedroom apartment to a mother and her 3 children. They also allegedly told HOPE Fair Housing Center investigators that they would not rent to families with children.

HOPE filed complaints with HUD in December, 1998, alleging discrimination against families with children. The owners agreed to settle these complaints with the payment of $15,000 to the mother and her children and $5,000 to HOPE Fair Housing Center. In addition, the HUD Enforcement/Conciliation Agreement enjoins the owners from discriminating in the future, requires them to attend fair housing training, and also mandates that they keep detailed records of future inquiries about their rentals, which will be provided to HOPE for monitoring purposes.

The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against a person because of their race in the rental of housing. The Act bars discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status and national origin. It covers the sale, rental, financing and advertising of almost all housing in the nation.

In announcing the settlement, Bernard Kleina, Executive Director of HOPE Fair Housing Center, stated that “this swift settlement demonstrates the effectiveness of the partnership between HUD and HOPE Fair Housing Center, working together to eradicate housing discrimination whenever and wherever it occurs. This successful ongoing partnership brings hope to many who are victimized by housing discrimination.”

President Clinton is asking Congress for increased funding to fight housing discrimination. The Administration’s 2000 budget proposes $47 million, a 17 percent increase, for Fair Housing activities at HUD such as the work that HOPE Fair Housing Center did on this case.

HUD’s current Fiscal Year 1999 Fair Housing Activity budget jumped to $40 million from last year’s total of $30 million.