Justice Department Resolves Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Housing Authority
WASHINGTON, July 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Justice Department today announced that it has reached an agreement resolving its lawsuit against the Fitchburg, Mass., Housing Authority and its executive director, Robert W. Hill. The lawsuit alleged that the Fitchburg Housing Authority and Hill violated the Fair Housing Act by adopting and implementing policies that denied tenants with disabilities other than mobility impairments the opportunity to transfer between apartments within Fitchburg's public housing neighborhoods.
"The Fair Housing Act requires equal access to housing for persons with disabilities," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "This comprehensive settlement will ensure equal access to housing for all disabled individuals, not just those who are substantially limited in the major life activity of walking."
Under the terms of the settlement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the defendants must establish a $65,000 settlement fund to compensate persons who may have been injured by their alleged discriminatory conduct. The settlement also requires employees of the Fitchburg Housing Authority to receive training on the prohibition of disability discrimination under federal fair housing laws. Additionally, the Fitchburg Housing Authority must implement nondiscrimination and reasonable accommodation policies, and a procedure by which tenants may file a disability discrimination complaint against and employee or agent of the authority.
Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.