The Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania has reached a settlement with the Mount Laurel-based landlord it sued last month for discriminating against Philadelphia tenants who pay rent using government subsidies, most of whom are Black.
The lawsuit alleged that Pro-Managed Inc., which owns or manages at least 77 rental properties throughout Philadelphia, accepts /www.hud.gov/topics/housing_choice_voucher_program_section_8#hcv05">federal housing vouchers for a limited number of rentals in predominantly Black neighborhoods and doesn’t accept vouchers in predominantly white areas, where most of its rentals are.
The Philadelphia-based Public Interest Law Center, which represented the nonprofit fair housing agency, said the policy of limiting acceptance of vouchers to majority-Black neighborhoods looked like “modern-day redlining.”
/pubintlaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/HECP-ProManaged-Settlement-Executed-Version-pubintlaw.pdf">According to a settlement that the Housing Equality Center and Pro-Managed signed last month, Pro-Managed admitted that its policies discriminated against tenants and agreed to advertise that it accepts and encourages housing vouchers at all of its rental properties. The company also agreed to receive training on the Fair Housing Act and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance and adopt written policies that comply with both.
Pro-Managed is responsible for paying $26,000 to the Housing Equality Center and $74,000 to the Public Interest Law Center to cover legal fees, investigation costs, and fair housing education.
The Housing Equality Center, which serves residents in the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley regions, had filed complaints against the company with the /www.phila.gov/departments/philadelphia-commission-on-human-relations/">Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations for violating the city’s ban on discrimination based on source of income and in federal court for violating the Fair Housing Act. Households that need vouchers have a hard time finding housing they can afford.
“Pro-Managed should be commended for taking meaningful and prompt action to comply with the letter and spirit of local and federal fair housing laws, and for providing greater opportunities for Philadelphia renters who receive housing assistance,” staff attorney Sari Bernstein of the Public Interest Law Center said /pubintlaw.org/cases-and-projects/joint-statement-on-the-settlement-of-our-fair-housing-act-case-regarding-housing-choice-voucher-renters/">in a statement.
The Housing Equality Center’s actions “allowed [Pro-Managed] to improve our policies and reminded us of the importance of continued education and training,” a company representative said, according to a statement. Pro-Managed is “happy to accept Housing Choice Vouchers for all our properties.”