A housing authority in Indiana, along with the city of Hammond, have agreed to pay $200,000 to settle allegations that an employee was wrongfully discharged for her success in integrating minorities into predominantly white neighborhoods.
After being fired from her job administering a housing voucher program, the woman filed a claim with HUD alleging she was wrongfully terminated because she assisted persons using vouchers to find housing in the Hammond neighborhood of their choice. She further alleged that the mayor of Hammond made public statements supporting her ouster, claiming that the voucher program had grown out of control and exploded during her tenure.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to retaliate against a person for supporting the housing rights of others. In addition, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
HUDs Housing Choice Voucher program is designed to help lower income families find housing in safe neighborhoods and climb the ladder of social and economic opportunity, said Bryan Greene, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Were pleased that, under this Agreement, the HHA commits itself to implement this program in a fair manner and provide greater housing choices for families of all backgrounds.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is HUDs major rental assistance vehicle for assisting low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities to obtain affordable housing in the private rental market. Rental assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, allowing program participants to find their own rental housing, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments.
Under the terms of the agreement, relevant city and housing authority staff and board members will receive fair housing training; the Mayor of Hammond will issue a public statement in support of the voucher program in Hammond; the city and housing authority will sponsor a public outreach forum to encourage landlord participation in the voucher program; and, the housing authority will expend at least 97 percent of its annual voucher budget each year.
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