|HUD No. 16-119
August 4, 2016
HUD ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH CITY OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA TO RESOLVE DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has approved an agreement with the City of Richmond, Virginia, settling 14 complaints of housing discrimination filed against the City by Hispanic residents. The complaints alleged that the City of Richmond selectively enforced its code requirements against residents of the City's mobile home parks, who are predominantly Hispanic.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of national origin. This includes discriminating against persons because of their national origin when enforcing local housing codes.
The complainants, who are current or former residents of mobile home parks in Richmond, alleged that, due to their national origin, the City imposed unreasonable and legally unjustified requirements that they had to meet to avoid condemnation of their homes; intimidated and harassed them by conducting intrusive inspections with armed police escorts and threatening criminal court action and large monetary fines; and failed to provide meaningful access to residents who have limited English proficiency.
"This agreement helps ensure that all residents in Richmond, regardless of where they live or what ethnicity they are, have equal access and enjoyment of their home," said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD will continue to work with local governments to create and protect housing opportunities for Hispanic families and others with limited English proficiency."
Under the terms of the agreement, Richmond will pay $30,000 in damages to some of the complainants, analyze its language access needs, develop a language access plan, and conduct outreach to the Spanish speaking community. The City will also update its Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (AI), hold regular meetings with relevant city offices about the AI, and take steps to identify additional funding that mobile home park tenants can use for repairs to their units. Several of the HUD Complainants were plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit filed in Federal Court, and received an additional $40,000 from the City for relocation or home safety repairs. Read the agreement with Richmond here.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available online. Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed at www.hud.gov/fairhousing or by downloading HUD's free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.
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