FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Contact: FHC Executive Director Pam Kisch, (734) 994-3426, Attorney Steve Tomkowiak (248) 543-1600
Monroe Property Does Not Want Children; Lawsuit Filed
Cicily Pippens contacted the Fair Housing Center to report that the agent at a West Eighth Street property, in the City of Monroe, took a rental application away from her after the agent learned that Ms. Pippens has two children.
The Fair Housing Center investigated the claim of housing discrimination by testing. Testers were sent to the location at various times during the period of a month. FHC testing strongly supported Ms. Pippens’ claim of discrimination based on familial status.
According to the lawsuit, the defendant – Mildred Trkula – told Pippens that “they really do not want children living here.” Ms. Trkula is the owner of the property. The lawsuit also reveals that the defendant told FHC testers “you can’t have kids,” “it is an adult unit,” and that a previous tenant “found a girlfriend with kids” and that she, Ms. Trkula, “got rid of them.”
FHC staff met with Ms. Pippens in early February 2013, to discuss her options. Ms. Pippens chose to go to litigation with a Fair Housing Center Cooperating Attorney, selecting Steve Tomkowiak to handle her case. On March 5, 2013, Mr. Tomkowiak filed Pippens v Trkula in U. S. Federal District Court. The case is assigned to Judge Victoria A. Roberts.
Pippens v Trkula is the fifth Fair Housing Center-aided familial status case filed since 2010. Recognizing the need for public education on the issue of discrimination against families with children, the FHC is conducting additional outreach concerning this issue by placing an ad (see below) in the April edition of the Ann Arbor Family Paper. The FHC also has plans to run this ad in other publications, in hopes that the ad will alert families to the possible signs of discrimination against children.
A private non-profit organization, the Fair Housing Center opened in 1992 to provide fair housing investigations, advocacy, education, conciliation, and attorney referrals to those who believe they have been the victims of illegal housing discrimination. The Fair Housing Center serves Washtenaw, Ingham, Monroe, Livingston, Jackson, and Lenawee counties. The mission of the Fair Housing Center is to end discrimination in housing and public accommodations and to promote accessible, integrated communities.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.