In DC, We Stand Up Against Discrimination
Last week, I filed a civil rights lawsuit against the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) for forcing hundreds of public housing residents with disabilities to wait years—and sometimes more than a decade—for accessible housing.
Before filing, we tried to work with DCHA to address the violations we found, but the agency did not provide information about how it will address these serious concerns. So we were forced to take legal action to ensure vulnerable District residents living in public housing are able to get the accommodations to which they are entitled.
As just one example, a tenant who lived on the 4th floor of a building without an elevator was forced to rely on others to carry her up and down the stairs when she had to go to medical appointments or leave the building. Although DCHA approved her move to a wheelchair-accessible unit in 2017, the tenant was still waiting for an accessible unit nearly five years later when she passed away.
Unfortunately, last week’s lawsuit is not the first time we have been forced to sue DCHA to ensure they follow the law. In 2020, we sued the agency over public safety violations, and successfully secured a settlement and improvements for tenants. And now we’re standing up for public housing residents again because everyone deserves safe, accessible housing.
I can also tell you that when we stand up against discrimination, we win. Just last week, we announced victories in four housing discrimination lawsuits, which together are bringing back more than $360,000 to the District. In the cases that we have resolved, the defendants will also shape up their practices and end the discriminatory behavior—from trying not to lease to a Black tenant to refusing to rent to tenants who use vouchers to pay rent.
Housing discrimination is illegal and if we see it happening, we will use the courts to make the offenders pay. Read more about these wins in the Washington Informer.
Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General in the Community
Throughout the month, my team and I have attended events all over the District. I spoke with representatives from the Netherlands about our work in DC to address the needs of victims, tackle the root causes of crime like poverty and trauma, and improve public safety. We also joined residents at Open Streets on 7th Street and marched in the Capital Pride Parade, which was a blast. Great to see everyone!
Cracking Down on Elder Exploitation
Did you know that there are 87,000 adults over the age of 65 living in the District? Did you know that one in 10 elders experience abuse, and that financial exploitation is the most common form?
Last Wednesday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. My office is committed to helping and protecting elders and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. That’s why we have a dedicated section in our office to protect older residents, which has secured more than $468,000 in judgements and settlements holding bad actors accountable since it formed in 2019.
We also conduct community outreach to provide information to residents about their rights, common scams, and red flags. Join us in raising awareness about elder abuse to help DC residents live out their golden years with security and dignity.
Happy Caribbean American Heritage Month, DC!
Happy Caribbean American Heritage Month! As a proud Caribbean American born in Haiti, there’s a lot to celebrate this month. My parents immigrated to the United States from Haiti to make a better life for my sister and me, and I know that’s a story we share with many other families. This month, let’s remember the rich history and cultures of the Caribbean as we celebrate the traditions and contributions of Caribbean American communities
Sign Up to Receive a Report From My Office
I know many of you are loyal readers of this newsletter—because, among other things, you made it this far down! If you’re interested in learning more about my office and our work, I invite you to sign up to receive the physical copy of my office’s report this fall. It will provide information about where you can report everything from consumer protection violations to discrimination. It will also show how far the office has come in the last seven years and will include a special message from me as I reflect on the job of AG.