Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (LIHS) initiated an investigation in 2019 based on an allegation of discrimination from Suffolk Independent Living Organization (SILO) that Brook Garden Apartments was not accepting prospective renters with Housing Vouchers.
LIHS’ analysis of its testing and investigation presented sufficient evidence to file a complaint against Brook Garden Apartments and the owner, 1-49 June Court Apartments LLC (Respondents). The complaint against the Respondents alleged discrimination against i
ndividuals with disabilities and individuals with Housing Choice Vouchers. Brook Gardens Apartment is located in Bay Shore, New York.
“This is the second case that LIHS settled within a short period of time on Long Island for Disability and Source of Income discrimination by an apartment complex,” said Ian Wilder, Executive Director of Long Island Housing Services, Inc. “Despite being established law that persons with disabilities and all lawful sources of income are protected persons under the law, we continue to see apartment complexes discriminate against those individuals and make housing unavailable. Apartment owners must follow the law to engage in commerce and we will continue to expose law-breaking as it happens.”
Suffolk Independent Living Organization (SILO), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, consumer controlled, non-residential, civil rights, mentoring and educational organization which has been providing programs and services to people with disabilities in Suffolk County since 1985, also brought a disability discrimination complaint against 1-49 June Court Apartments LLC.
“I would like to thank the staff at Long Island Housing Services, for assisting people with disabilities and others break down barriers for attaining housing in the Long Island region,” said Joseph M. Delgado, Chief Executive Officer of Suffolk Independent Living Organization. “Finding suitable housing on Long Island is difficult and then add to its discriminatory practices, and it simply leads to homelessness for individuals and families. Suffolk Independent Living Organization (SILO) is honored to collaborate with LIHS to end housing discriminatory practices.”
People who believe that they have experienced housing discrimination in Nassau or Suffolk Counties, can contact Long Island Housing Services, Inc. at 631-567-5111 ext. 375 Hablamos Español 631-567-5111 Ext. 378 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the investigation of Brook Garden Apartments, LIHS’ testers posed as ordinary home seekers to observe the business practices of Brook Garden Apartments in order to determine compliance with fair housing laws.
Testers with disabilities were treated differently and unfairly compared to LIHS’ testers without a disability. A tester looking for housing for an individual with disabilities was falsely told that there was no available unit. A tester without disabilities was told about an available unit and was able to view the unit. The federal Fair Housing Act, New York State Human Rights Law, and Suffolk County Human Rights Law all prohibit housing discrimination based on disability.
Source of Income Discrimination
Furthermore, the LIHS tester with a Housing Choice Voucher was treated differently and unfairly compared to a LIHS’ tester without Housing Choice Vouchers. LIHS found that testers with Housing Choice Vouchers were told that Brook Garden Apartments would not accept “programs” and “section 8.” Further, testers with Housing Choice Vouchers were falsely told of a long waiting list. A LIHS’ tester without a Housing Choice Voucher was not told of a long waiting list and was able to make an appointment and view the unit.
New York State and Suffolk County Human Rights Laws both prohibit discrimination based on a lawful source of income. Source of income discrimination occurs when a housing provider refuses to accept a lawful source of income, including, but not limited to, Supplemental Social Income (SSI), Social Security Disability (SSD), Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) Housing Subsidy, Olmstead Housing Subsidy (OHS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Medicaid Waiver program, or child support.
Based upon Long Island Housing Services Inc. investigation, they filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights for source of income and disability discrimination by Brook Garden Apartments and 1-49 June Court Apartments LLC.
Reinforcing Fair Housing Rights
After negotiation, the parties reached a settlement agreement, including policy changes that include adopting a non-discriminatory fair housing policy and a source of income policy. In the settlement agreement, 1-49 June Court Apartments LLC also agreed to provide fair housing training to their employees and revise their rental applications and lease agreements to include a statement of supporting fair housing laws.
1-49 June Court Apartments LLC agreed to settle with Long Island Housing Services for $7,500 and Suffolk Independent Living Organization for $3,750 in monetary damages.
Founded in 1969, Long Island Housing Services’ mission is the elimination of unlawful discrimination and promotion of decent and affordable housing through advocacy and education LIHS is a private, nonprofit HUD-qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organization and a federally certified, approved Housing Counseling agency. (www.LIFairHousing.org)
The Fair Housing enforcement and advocacy work of LIHS is supported through grants from the Fair Housing Initiatives Program of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. The Fair Housing enforcement and advocacy work is also supported by the Suffolk County Office of Housing and Community Development and Town of Islip Office of Housing and Community Development, which provides support for LIHS’ housing counseling and fair housing efforts with federal pass-through funds of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program.