Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative-Recent Cases
Robert N. Hatfield rented, sold, and financed homes in Wilkes County, North Carolina. DOJ received reports that he made unwelcome sexual comments to female applicants and tenants, groped female applicants and tenants, offered to reduce or eliminate payments in exchange for sexual acts, and took or threatened to take away housing benefits from residents who rejected his advances. DOJ filed a lawsuit on July 13, 2017 against him. He settled the case on April 12, 2019. The settlement prohibits Hatfield from renting, selling, or financing residential properties, and requires him to pay $550,000 to 17 residents and applicants he harassed.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN HOUSING INITIATIVE - NEWS
HUD conducts Round Table Forums and pursuits cases of Sexual Harassment in Housing.
Justice Department Reports Major Increases in Victim Reporting and Number of Lawsuits Filed in One Year Since Launch of Initiative to Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing
"The Justice Department today announced the one-year anniversary of its initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing. Since its launch in October 2017 and nationwide expansion in April 2018, the Department has seen a major upswing in both reporting and enforcement. Over the past year, the Department has:
- Opened 34 new sexual harassment matters. This is more than any previous year and nearly five times the number of matters opened in the prior year."
WHEN YOUR SEXUAL HARASSER HAS KEYS TO YOUR APARTMENT
Bringing Sexual Harassment in Housing Out from Behind Closed Doors
"During Frank Tenuta’s 33-year tenure as an attorney, he’s heard various versions of how it begins.
“I was in the shower and all of a sudden I heard my landlord out there saying, ‘Hey, anybody here? I knocked and nobody answered so I just came in.’”
Tenuta’s first case of sexual harassment in housing occurred in the mid-to-late 1980s. The woman was behind on her rent. The landlord said he would look the other way if she performed sexual favors."
HUD's Training Page for Preventing Sexual and Other Discriminatory Harassment in Housing
"This page contains links that will help you understand what sexual harassment in housing looks like and how it violates the Fair Housing Act. The links will also identify ways to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment when it occurs."
Monday, April 29th, HUD launched the Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Initiative
We invite you to read the fact sheets, view the videos, and complete the training module
April 2019 Humans of HUD features sexual harassment in housing testimonies
This year , throughout the month of April, the “Humans of HUD” photoblog will feature victims of sexual harassment in housing, highlighting the personal testimonies of survivors and those who helped them.
HUD Chief Uses Personal Experience to Encourage Women to Report Sexual Harassment in Housing
"Raquel Hubbard-Hall lived in fear of her landlord, who stalked her inside her home.
Walter Ray Pelfrey would repeatedly show up to fix appliances that weren’t broken, and, once inside the Oklahoma City home Ms. Hubbard-Hall shared with three young children, he would make lewd remarks and sexual advances."
ABC News article: Uncovering Rampant Sexual Harassment in Housing Systems
highlight ABC Nightline's recent story: Uncovering Rampant Sexual Harassment in Housing Systems, which features women who share their stories of abuse and the impact the experience had on their lives, as well as how HUD and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) helped them to obtain the justice they deserved, and in one case, a $2.7 million settlement.
Cómo luchar contra el acoso sexual en la vivienda
"Encontrar vivienda puede ser estresante, sobretodo si su presupuesto es ajustado, está solo y no cuenta con muchas opciones. Y cuando alguien que le ofrece un lugar para vivir lo acosa sexualmente, esto lo puede dejar sintiéndose inseguro y humillado."
Fighting Back Against Sexual Harassment in Housing
"Finding housing can be stressful, especially if money’s tight, you’re on your own, and you don’t have a lot of options. And when someone who can grant you a place to live sexually harasses you, it can leave you feeling unsafe and humiliated."
Scotland County, North Carolina, Public Housing Agency and Two Former Employees to Pay Over $2.7 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuits
The Justice Department today [Wednesday, July 1, 2015] announced that Southeastern Community and Family Services Inc. (SCFS), a public housing agency that administers the Section 8 voucher program in Scotland County, North Carolina, and two of SCFS’ former employees have agreed to pay more than $2.7 million in monetary damages and civil penalties to settle consolidated Fair Housing Act lawsuits brought by the Justice Department and private plaintiffs. SCFS was formerly known as Four-County Community Services Inc.
Settlement Agreement: United States v. Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority, Victor L. Hernandez, Derrick Estelle Sr. and Ronald Cobb
"This action was filed on October 26, 2015 by the United States to enforce Title
VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (“Fair Housing Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631."
Justice Department Obtains $365,000 Settlement of Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Kansas City, Kansas, Housing Authority
"The Justice Department today [Friday, September 29, 2017] announced that the Kansas City, Kansas, Housing Authority (KCKHA) and three of its former employees have agreed to pay $365,000 to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the department in 2015. So far this year, the Justice Department has filed or settled four cases alleging unlawful sexual harassment of women in housing."
ABC News Article: Uncovering Rampant Sexual Harassment in Housing
For Autumn Weaver, having a home meant everything.
"It was my independence," Weaver, 33, said. "It was me finally being able to do it on my own without any help."
ABC News Video: Uncovering Rampant Hexual harassment in Housing Systems
ABC News video Published on Feb 26, 2019
Khristen Sellers went to court after she says she was solicited for sex by a man who had the power to evict her - and dozens of other women with alarmingly similar stories came forward.
HUD Charges Tennessee Landlord with Sexual Harassment
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today charged Chad David Ables, the owner of a mobile home park in Lexington, TN, with discrimination for allegedly pressuring two female tenants, a same-sex couple, to perform sexual favors for him instead of paying rent.
The Fight for LGBT Rights Has Moved to the Suburbs
PHOTO: Charlie Craig and David Mullins at their suburban Westminster, Colorado home in 2014. Brennan Linsley/AP
Many Americans still associate LGBTQ life with urban “gayborhoods.” But the Masterpiece Cakeshop case highlights how sexual diversity in suburbia is growing.
Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Cmty., LLC, No. 17-1322, 2018 WL 4057365, at *1 (7th Cir. Aug. 27, 2018)
“St. Andrew agrees that our ruling in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, 853 F.3d 339 (7th Cir. 2017) (en banc), holding that discrimination based on sexual orientation qualifies as discrimination based on sex under Title VII, applies with equal force under the FHA.”
Appeals Court: Fair Housing Act Protects Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination
The decision issued Monday is an important step forward in clarifying fair housing protections for LGBTQ people.
Taking Sexual Harassment Seriously: Tips for Nonprofits
[Photo]This woman says employees of a North Carolina housing agency assaulted her. She did not want her face shown. Photo by Jessica Lussenhop for the BBCSexual harassment is a topic that’s not often addressed in the community development field, but it should be.
Staci Berger was revolted when she read Jessica Lussenhop’s account of women who were sexually harassed, threatened, and assaulted at the hands of employees of a nonprofit housing agency in North Carolina. “It was like a kick in the gut just to read it,” recalls Berger, who is the executive director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. When a predator “has a key to your house, the place that’s supposed to be most safe . . . It’s just evil.”
A Cruel Choice—Sexual Favors for Housing
Across the U.S., sexual harassment and assault at the hands of landlords, property managers, and others in the housing industry can drive poor women and their children into homelessness. It is a problem badly understood and virtually unstudied.
Married Lesbian Couple Denied Housing by Senior Living Community, Lawsuit Claims
Read the suit: Lesbian couple claims Friendship Village denied them senior housing spot
Lesbian couple denied housing in Sunset Hills senior living community, lawsuit claims
ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis County senior community has denied housing to a married lesbian couple who have been together for nearly four decades because of the couple’s sexual orientation, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
Mary Walsh, 72, and Bev Nance, 68, both of Shrewsbury, say the Friendship Village senior living community, which has locations in Sunset Hills and Chesterfield, denied occupancy to them to live at the Sunset Hills community in 2016 because their relationship violated its cohabitation policy that defines marriage as “the union of one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible,” according to the lawsuit.
The case may mark the latest front-line legal clash in deciding questions of sex discrimination and religious freedoms, legal observers say.
Justice Department Launches Public Awareness Campaign with Victims of Sexual Harassment in Housing
The Department of Justice today announced the release of a public service announcement (PSA) aimed at raising awareness and reaching victims of sexual harassment in housing. To enhance the effectiveness of the campaign, the Department has enlisted the assistance of victims to share their experiences and help convey the message that sexual harassment in housing is a violation of civil rights.
Justice Department files suit against Cullman landlord alleging sexual harassment
The Justice Department has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the owner of a Cullman rental property alleging his actions violated the Fair Housing Act, the Department announced Monday [July 9, 2018].
The Department names Randy Hames and his rental property company, Hames Marina, LLC as defendants in the lawsuit.
Fight sexual harassment in housing
Fifty years ago this year, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law. The act bans discrimination in housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, disability and family status. The president noted that the Fair Housing Act “Proclaims that fair housing for all — all human beings who live in this country — is now a part of the American way of life.” Unfortunately for some, this ideal has fallen short.
HUD joins initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing Forms interagency task force with Justice Department
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it is recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act with its new initiative to increase awareness and reporting of sexual harassment in housing.
The new initiative with the U.S. Department of Justice, announced by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will create an interagency task force to combat sexual harassment in housing. It also includes an outreach toolkit and a public awareness campaign.
#MeToo spreads to housing: Bay Area renters accuse landlords of sexual harassment
Photo credit: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group
While the #MeToo movement has shed light on workplace sexual harassment in California’s technology sector, entertainment industry, politics and beyond, little attention is paid to the same abuses between landlords and tenants. But tenants-rights lawyers say the harassment Bay Area women are reporting — from unwanted touching to offers of free rent in exchange for sex — is particularly chilling because it involves someone with keys to the victim’s home and the power to take that home away. And with local rent prices soaring, many women can’t put an end to the harassment by moving out, because they can’t afford to live anywhere else.
HUD Reaches Agreements with Florida, Virginia and California Landlords Settling Claims of Sexual Harassment in Housing
WASHINGTON - Today, [April 30, 2018] the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced three settlements of claims involving allegations of sexual harassment totaling approximately $125,000 in relief for complainants.
Justice Department Announces Nationwide Initiative to Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing
Photo by Lum3n.com from Pexels
Today, [Tuesday, April 12, 2018] as the Department of Justice recognizes the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the nationwide rollout of an initiative aimed at increasing awareness and reporting of sexual harassment in housing. The announcement includes an interagency task force between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Justice Department to combat sexual harassment in housing, an outreach toolkit, and a public awareness campaign. This three-pronged approach will strengthen the Department’s efforts to combat sexual harassment in housing.
Justice Department Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Owners and Managers of New York Rental Properties
Photo by Chris Schippers from Pexels
The Justice Department announced today [April 11, 2018] that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that Douglas S. Waterbury, a residential property owner and landlord in the Oswego, New York, area subjected female tenants and potential tenants to egregious sexual harassment in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Along with Douglas Waterbury, the Department’s complaint names his wife and business partner, Carol A. Waterbury, and two residential property companies, Ontario Realty Inc. and E&A Management Co., as defendants.
The Fight for Fair Housing’s Forgotten #MeToo Chapter
In 1982, Tammy Shellhammer, a young white woman, walked into the Toledo Fair Housing office because she felt she was the victim of discrimination by her landlord, Norman Lewallen. In their interactions, Lewallen was sexually aggressive with her and had begun to demand that she pose for nude photos, perform oral sex, or have intercourse with him. When she repeatedly refused, Lewallen evicted Tammy and her husband. Tammy suspected she was not the only woman in the building who had been harassed, but worried no one would come forward to fear of losing their place to live.
Feds: Sedamsville landlord harassed women by offering housing benefits in exchange for sex
DOJ's Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative (SHHI)
In October , the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced the Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative (SHHI). The initiative specifically seeks to increase the Department’s efforts to protect individuals from harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security guards, and other employees and representatives of rental property owners. In 2017, the Justice Department recovered more than $1 million in damages for harassment victims.
Justice Department Obtains $625,000 Settlement Of Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Two St. Louis Landlords
The Justice Department today announced a settlement with two St. Louis landlords, Hezekiah and Jameseva Webb, to resolve a lawsuit alleging that they violated the Fair Housing Act by subjecting fifteen female tenants in their rental properties to sexual harassment over the course of two decades.
In October, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced the Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative (SHHI). The initiative specifically seeks to increase the Department’s efforts to protect individuals from harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security guards, and other employees and representatives of rental property owners. In 2017, the Justice Department recovered more than $1 million in damages for harassment victims. This is the first settlement announcement in 2018.
US Court Considers Potentially Landmark LGBT Housing Case
By MICHAEL TARM, AP Legal Writer
A court has heard oral arguments in a 70-year-old's potentially landmark case alleging a Chicago-area senior living center did nothing to stop residents from hurling slurs and spitting on her because of her sexual orientation.
Colorado Fair Housing Act ruling mirrors decision by Seventh Circuit in breakthrough sex discrimination case
An April  decision by a Colorado U.S. district court judge extended the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to include prohibiting discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people, mirroring a landmark ruling in Chicago's Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals regarding discrimination.
by Kacie Whaley | Jun. 5, 2017, 12:29pm
A Woman's Choice - Sexual Favours or Lose Her Home
By Jessica Lussenhop BBC News, North Carolina,11 January 2018
"Across the US, sexual harassment at the hands of landlords, property managers and others in the housing industry can drive poor women and their children into homelessness. It is a problem badly understood and virtually unstudied."
Metropolitan Fair Housing Council of Oklahoma Announces $800,000 Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settlement
Today, the Metropolitan Fair Housing Council of Oklahoma, Inc. (MFHC, Inc.) announced a settlement of $800,000 of a sexual harassment lawsuit by a Consent Decree, signed by the Honorable Chief Judge Joe Heaton, United States District Court of the Western District of Oklahoma on December 7, 2017.
Click here to read the press release..
Click here to read the consent decree and complaint.
HUD Charges Kansas Property Owners with Housing Discrimination After Alleged Sexual Harassment of Two Female Tenants
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today it is charging the owner and landlord of several rental properties in Wichita, Kansas, and his wife, who co-owned one of the properties, with housing discrimination after the landlord allegedly sexually harassed two female tenants at his properties. HUD’s charge further alleges that he also made discriminatory statements based on one of the women’s race. Click here to read HUD's press release..
Federal Judge Rules That the Fair Housing Act Protects LGBTQ People
U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore concluded that the FHA’s ban on sex discrimination prohibited discrimination against a same-sex couple, one of whom is trans. His decision marks the first time a federal court has applied the FHA to anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand on How the Justice Department Is Trying to Fight Sexual Harassment in Housing
Under the Fair Housing Act, sexual harassment and abuse in housing is illegal. But many women don’t know that’s the case — and so never report it. That’s where a new Department of Justice initiative comes in. Earlier this month, the department’s civil rights division launched a program to encourage more women to report harassment and abuse from landlords, property managers, and other rental property staff, and created a new reporting pipeline that brings local law enforcement together with Justice Department officials.
Justice Department Announces Initiative to Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing
The Justice Department today announced a new initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing. The initiative specifically seeks to increase the Department’s efforts to protect women from harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security guards, and other employees and representatives of rental property owners.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under this law.
HUD Expands Housing Protections for Survivors of Violence
WASHINGTON – When a home is a place of violence, residents are vulnerable to losing their housing through eviction, coercion, or abuse. Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development finalized a new rule to protect the housing of survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
HUD Announces New Protections for Victims of Harassment and Survivors of Domestic Violence
HUD published a final rule formalizing legal standards under the Fair Housing Act for sexual and other forms of harassment in housing. In addition, HUD is issuing Fair Housing Act guidance on local “nuisance ordinances” that may lead to housing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence and other persons in need of emergency services.
HUD is issuing its Nuisance Guidance as the country marks the 22nd anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Through the VAWA 2013 reauthorization, protections have been expanded to nearly all HUD programs. Previously, only residents of public housing and Section 8 tenant-based and project-based programs were covered.