|HUD No. 18-026
HUD Public Affairs
| FOR RELEASE
April 5, 2018
HUD CHARGES OWNER, MANAGER OF MISSISSIPPI MOBILE HOME PARK WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST INTERRACIAL FAMILY
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged Linda and Gene Baker, the owner and manager of a trailer park in Belden, Mississippi, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent a lot to an interracial married couple with two children. HUD's Charge of Discrimination alleges that the property manager, upon learning that the husband is African American, told the wife that the family had to move out of the trailer park. Read HUD's Charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from refusing to rent because of race or color.
"This month we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination because of race," said Anna María Farias, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "This case reminds property owners that they have an obligation to treat all people fairly and demonstrates HUD's continuing commitment to fighting housing discrimination."
The case began when the African-American man and his Hispanic wife filed a complaint with HUD alleging that the owner and manager of the trailer park refused to rent a lot to them because the husband is African American. According to HUD's Charge, Mr. Baker rented the lot to the wife, believing her to be white. However, the day after the family moved in and Baker learned that her husband is African American, he called her and demanded that the family move out. During the phone call to the woman, Mr. Baker allegedly said, "White and black shacking" was problematic for his community, his church and his mother-in-law. The woman asked him to reconsider, but he refused. Instead, he returned the woman's first-month's rent and she and her family moved out of the trailer park.
The charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainants for their loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest.
April 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. In commemoration, HUD, local communities, housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country will conduct a variety of activities to enhance awareness of fair housing rights, highlight HUD's fair housing enforcement efforts, and end housing discrimination in the nation. For a list of planned activities, log onto www.hud.gov/fairhousingis50.
People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing.