CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Department of Justice
announced a lawsuit Nov. 23 against the village of Tinley Park, Illinois, over
allegations the Chicago suburb violated the Fair Housing Act by not approving a
low-income housing development after race-based opposition.
“The Fair Housing Act requires
that cities make housing-related zoning and land use decisions based on the
merits – not on race,” said principal deputy assistant
attorney general Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “When discrimination
interferes with the housing and zoning approval process, entire communities suffer.”
According to the Justice Department, the Buckeye Community
Hope Foundation sought approval in 2015 for a 47-unit apartment complex for low-income
individuals near Tinley Park’s downtown area.
The Justice Department alleges the Tinley Park Planning Department should
have approved the project because it was in conformance with applicable building
requirements and zoning ordinances. The planning department allegedly blocked
the project, however, due to vocal, race-based community opposition.
“Our office is committed to
fighting unlawful discrimination wherever it occurs, including in fair housing,”
said U.S. attorney Zachary T. Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois. “Where appropriate, we
will pursue local governments that try to reduce affordable housing
opportunities for discriminatory purposes.”