A federal judge has ruled that the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has standing to bring a discrimination claim against Travelers
Insurance under the Fair Housing Act.
NFHA filed its suit in Washington, alleging that the insurer had committed racial, sexual and source-of-income discrimination by refusing to provide insurance to apartment owners renting to Section 8 tenants under the federal Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
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The alliance said Travelers
’ policy affects black people and women the hardest, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.
“Ninety-two percent of HCV-participating households in the District are African American and 81% are female-headed households,” the NFHA said in its website. “Residents who participate in the HCV program are largely concentrated in four census tracts east of the Anacostia River. These tracts are 84.7% black, compared to the D.C. average, which is 51.1% black.”
Courthouse News Service reported that US District Judge John Bates refused Travelers
’ motion to dismiss the suit on Monday.
Bates ruled that the NFHA’s claims meet the “robust causality” requirement under the US Supreme Court’s Inclusive Communities Project decision of 2015. The judge said that the alliance sufficiently alleged that the insurer’s policy unreasonably harms the groups of people most likely to be HCV program participants.
NFHA also sufficiently claimed that since these groups are “over-represented” among Section 8 participants, “members of a protected class are more likely to be harmed by Travelers
’ policy than are other individuals” in the District.
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