BOSSIER CITY, La. — A low-income housing authority in northwest Louisiana has settled a federal lawsuit in which it was accused of discriminating against black and disabled residents.
The Bossier City Housing Authority operates federally funded housing facilities. It had been accused of assigning elderly residents to housing based on race, instead of their place on a waiting list.
White elderly residents were assigned to one of two complexes assigned to the elderly, while African-Americans were assigned to any of five others where at least 90 percent of the residents were black.
The suit also said the authority primarily assigned disabled residents to one facility although it had a choice of seven properties.
The Justice Department announced the settlement, which awaits U.S. District Judge Don Walter’s approval, Friday evening. The department’s lawsuit and the proposed settlement all were entered into the court record on Friday.
Court documents and a Justice Department news release say the authority has agreed to adopt new policies. It also will pay $120,000 into an interest-bearing account to compensate elderly or disabled people who were passed over on the authority’s housing waiting list.
Employees of the housing authority will be required to attend training on the requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act every year, under terms of the settlement.
“All of the residents of our district deserve to live in housing managed with policies that are free of discrimination,” U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley of the Western District of Louisiana, said in a news release.