Fair housing advocates announced the settlement of a long-running court challenge to protect the Lake Bluff Apartments, an integrated, affordable and accessible development in South Milwaukee. After a 2009 jury verdict found that tearing down Lake Bluff would have a discriminatory effect in violation of the Fair Housing Act, and after nearly two years of subsequent negotiations, Lake Bluff will remain a diverse and accessible place to live.
The tenants’ counsel issued the following statement about the settlement: “Legal Action of Wisconsin, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation, who represented tenants at Lake Bluff Apartments, applaud the City of South Milwaukee for resolving this case in a way that promotes fair housing and integration. The City negotiated this settlement in good faith. We are satisfied that with the settlement, which allows our clients to remain in diverse, affordable and accessible housing in South Milwaukee, the City has fully complied with its obligations under the Fair Housing Act not to discriminate in housing and with its obligations to affirmatively further fair housing.”
“We’re happy that the residents of Lake Bluff will be able to stay in their homes,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation Legal Director Larry Dupuis. “Finding affordable and accessible housing during an economic downswing hits people with disabilities and limited incomes the hardest. At the same time, the verdict and settlement in this case demonstrate that cities cannot afford to deny affordable, diverse housing. The results of this lawsuit will ensure that the buildings will stay up and tenants will no longer face the prospect of housing discrimination.”
The Lake Bluff tenants were represented by Dupuis, ACLU of Wisconsin Senior Staff Attorney Karyn Rotker, Legal Aid Society’s litigation director Peter Koneazny, and Legal Action Staff Attorney Mark Silverman. You can download the official statement online or read the combined press release on the ACLU of Wisconsin website.
The ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation is a non-profit civil liberties and civil rights organization working to protect the rights of Wisconsinites. For more on the work of the American Civil Liberties Union and Foundation of Wisconsin, visit our webpage. You can also get news and opinion on civil liberties in Wisconsin on our Cap City Liberty blog. Find us on Facebook and Twitter at ACLUMadison and ACLUofWisconsin.
Established in 1968, Legal Action of Wisconsin is a nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal services in 39 southern Wisconsin counties. Legal Action serves low-income, elderly and other clients through six offices statewide. More information is available at http://www.legalaction.org
The Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee is one of America’s oldest, public-interest law firms and was founded in 1916 with a unique charter “to do all things necessary for the prevention of injustice.” Each year the Society provides free legal services to 8,000 of Milwaukee’s most vulnerable residents. More information is available at http://www.lasmilwaukee.com.