Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday December 10, 2012
Contact: Pam Kisch (734) 994-3426, Attorney Jonathan Weber (734) 323-2535
$10,500 Settlement Adds to Total of More Than $1.7 Million
Won by Fair Housing Center for Victims of Housing Bias
OKEMOS- Matthew and Julie Hargraves have accepted $10,000 to settle a familial status discrimination case against the owner of a four-bedroom house in Okemos, Michigan. The total settlement agreement of $10,500 also calls for $500 to be paid by the owners, Gregory and Effie Spiridakos, to receive fair housing training.
Mr. Hargraves contacted the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan to report that he was not permitted to rent the home, located on Tamarack Drive, because he had four children. Mr. Hargraves was going through a divorce and sought housing for himself and his family, including his future wife, Julie. At the time of the complaint, his children ranged in age from five to eleven.
After taking a complaint from Mr. Hargraves, the Fair Housing Center used testers posing as families with and without children to contact the owner of the rental. Testing evidence supported the claim of discrimination based on familial status. Testing for this complaint was paid for by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Hargraves pursued his rights under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act. The case (No. 1:12-CV-00079) was litigated by Fair Housing Center cooperating attorney Jonathan G. Weber and assigned to Federal District Judge Robert Holmes Bell of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division. A settlement was reached prior to trial.
A private non-profit organization, the Fair Housing Center opened in 1992 to provide free fair housing testing, investigation, advocacy, education, conciliation, and attorney referrals to victims of illegal housing discrimination, which includes discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, age, and martial status. The Fair Housing Center provides services in six Michigan counties including Ingham County. Total Fair Housing Center-aided settlements now exceed $1,750,000.