Winchester, Connecticut is the target of a racism lawsuit brought forth by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center and a single mom of six children. The small town in Connecticut is 94.4 percent white and stands accused of “deliberately” keeping “ethnic minorities out” by denying housing benefits, according to the Daily Mail. Winchester has a total population of 11,000 residents.
The lawsuit filed against town officials claims the Winchester Housing Authority is intentionally trying to avoid an “influx” of ethnic minorities from moving into Winchester. The Winchester Housing Authority uses taxpayer collected funds to operate the federal low-income housing assistance program. The low-income housing lawsuit also maintains that assistance is granted in an illegal manner in the town and 16 surrounding communities the local agency serves, the Courthouse News Service reports.
The Winchester Housing Authority only grants low-income housing assistance to families who are already residents in one of the 17 Connecticut communities the governmental entity serves. The racism lawsuit claims that since the Winchester area towns are all at least 91 percent white the residency requirement “systemically and unlawfully discriminates” against minorities attempting to relocate to the area by making it “unaffordable” for such families to find homes.
“These requirements are unlawful because in communities with populations that are disproportionately white and or/non-Hispanic they perpetuate segregation by excluding minority applicants who live outside those communities from obtaining housing here,” the Connecticut Fair Housing Center lawsuit claims.
Crystal Carter, an African-American single mother of six joined in the racism lawsuit after she was denied access to Winchester Housing Authority low-income assistance because she lived in Hartford; a town not included in the 17 community area the Winchester agency serves. Carter claims her inability to garner low-income housing assistance in the Winchester area forced her to live in homeless shelters until housing became available.
Carter also claims she was “dissuaded” from settling in the Winchester area because there were “no jobs in the area. The Winchester racism lawsuit co-plaintiff also maintains housing authority staffers “suggested” she settle in New Haven or Bridgeport, cities with “substantial ethnic minority” populations.
The Connecticut Fair Housing Center lawsuit seeks an injunction against the Winchester Housing Authority, mandating a change in the allegedly racist residency requirement and punitive damages. If the Winchester low-income housing lawsuit is successful, it would likely impact other towns which have similar residency requirements for government housing assistance.