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Local case of alleged housing discrimination goes to federal court

Houses lining North Mcbride Street, Syracuse, NY. April 11, 2022.
Maxwell Mimaroglu
Houses lining North Mcbride Street, Syracuse, NY. April 11, 2022.

A family was allegedly denied housing due to their limited ability to speak English. CNY Fair Housing Executive Director Sally Santangelo said the nonprofit investigated the family’s claim and found evidence the landlord broke the law.

“We conducted undercover testing, as we often do, and provided third party evidence and complaints. Our testing verified the allegations that the housing provider was refusing to rent to households with limited English proficiency.”

With support from the U.S. Department of Justice, CNY Fair Housing must now prove the claim in federal court.

As this isn’t the first issue to arise, Santangelo said there is more work to be done to hold other landlords accountable.

“We know that there are housing providers who are not as welcoming. Housing providers who don’t want to be inconvenienced or perceive it as inconvenient to maybe have to, you know, do more to communicate with their tenants."

Santangelo said tenants have additional forces against them.

“We do see instances and have had reports of NIMBYism in neighborhoods where we’ve seen people passing petitions that there were Somalis moving into a neighborhood and we’ve heard of those instances in some of our communities here in Central New York as well.”

The case will be heard in a federal court and may play out for several years. A hearing date is yet to be determined.