Housing discrimination alleged in three states

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The U.S. Justice Department alleges in a lawsuit filed May 19 that nine multi-family apartment complexes, located across three states, are discriminating against people with disabilities, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit lists a range of potential violations, including a lack of accessible pedestrian routes and parking, steep cross and running slopes, doors that are too narrow for wheelchairs, lack of accessible routes in and out of the housing units, and inaccessible electrical outlets and other essential appliances.

“My office remains vigilant in its efforts to eradicate discrimination and to ensure that persons with disabilities have legally accessible accommodations in which to live,” said John Dowdy, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, in a Justice Department news release. “We will remain steadfast in making sure that developers, owners, architects and civil engineers design and develop apartments and other buildings which comply with these laws.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the South District of Mississippi, targets apartment complexes located in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee, comprising of more than 2,000 apartment units.

Precluding the Americans with Disabilities Act by two years, Congress amended the civil rights-era Fair Housing Act in 1988 to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in all public and private housing facilities.