A mom's fight pays off in race case

November 18, 2013
A racial discrimination case involving housing in Winchester and 17 surrounding towns has ended in a $350,000 settlement with a payoff for a formerly homeless mother whose persistence was nothing short of remarkable.
     Crystal Carter brought the federal lawsuit in August, 2012 after she was spurned by the Winchester Housing Authority in her effort to secure a Section 8 housing voucher, Carter alleged. The Fair Housing Center, a Hartford-based advocacy and legal assistance group, took the case as part of its broader efforts to combat racial discrimination in housing — which takes many forms.
     At issue in the lawsuit was the Winchester agency's practice of giving preference to people who already lived in its 18-town area when it offered up the federal vouchers to help pay for housing. Carter, then living in a homeless shelter in Mystic with five children aged 2 to 11 and an older child age 22, came up against the policy as part of a search for housing that became more and more desperate in 2011.