City of Bridgeport
Fair Housing Office
Department of Housing
45 Lyon Terrace
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
Contact: Joe Wincze, Executive Director, City of Bridgeport Fair Housing Office (203) 576-8323
Annette Gonzalez became upset when she believed she had been denied a chance to rent an apartment when a particular landlord, who was looking for a qualified tenant who could also cut grass and shovel snow, doubted her capabilities of performing these chores. Ms. Gonzalez had no such doubts herself, however, and judging from her recent settlement of a housing discrimination complaint awarding her $3,000, she appears to have made a convincing argument!
Ms. Gonzalez had filed her complaint this past summer with the CT Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities after allegedly being told by Constantine Buonanno of Robin Street, Bridgeport, that she did not qualify for the unit being rented on Parkview Ave because there was "no male in the household." According to Gonzalez' sworn affidavit, the landlord said he needed to rent to someone who could help cut grass and shovel snow and despite her insistence that she could do both - she was never even considered for the apartment! Ms. Gonzalez claimed she was unfairly discriminated against because of her sex and marital status. "He told me he did not want to rent to me because I didn't have a husband. He did not bother to take my references and never did a credit report on me."
Disturbed about such treatment, Ms. Gonzalez contacted the Bridgeport Fair Housing Office and received assistance there in filing an official housing discrimination complaint. In addition, the office assisted her in obtaining the services of an attorney - Alan Rosner of Bridgeport - to represent her free of charge.
Jow Wincze - Director of the Fair Housing Office - believed the ensuing settlement between the parties proves an important point. "Nobody should make assumptions about anyone regarding one's qualifications for being a good tenant. Ms. Gonzalez believed she could perform the duties the landlord was requesting, and simply wanted to be considered for the apartment like anybody else!"