Blog of Rights

Fair Housing Settlement a Victory for Domestic Violence Survivors

By Selene Kaye, ACLU at 3:19pm

The ACLU received this month a settlement compliance report from Management Systems, Inc., the Detroit property management company that illegally evicted Tanica Lewis in 2006 because of property damage caused by her abusive ex-boyfriend, against whom she had a personal protection order.

In the settlement, reached in February of this year, Management Systems agreed to institute a Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Policy, which prohibits the company from evicting tenants or discriminating against applicants on the basis that they are victims of any of these forms of violence. The policy also allows tenants to end their leases early if they need to flee violence and gives them the option of relocating to another property managed by the company.

We were delighted to learn from the compliance report that Management Systems has distributed the new domestic violence policy to tenants and employees, and even more significantly, that ten properties throughout Detroit managed by the company have already accepted the policy. This means that there are now 543 units available to tenants who need to relocate for safety reasons.

“I feel great because they adopted new policy changes and it can help other women or men in the situation that I was in so they won’t have to go through the things that I went through.”

— Tanica Lewis in a podcast interview

“There is a huge interconnection between homelessness and domestic violence; one study has shown that 90 percent of homeless women have experienced abuse in their lifetimes. The over 500 units that are part of the relocation pool are a great resource for survivors.”

— Sandra Park, ACLU Women’s Rights Project staff attorney, in a podcast interview

To listen to the podcasts of Tanica and Sandra and to learn more about this case, go to: www.aclu.org/womensrights/violence/33989res20070221.html.

For more information about WRP’s work on sex discrimination in housing, check out: www.aclu.org/fairhousingforwomen.

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