Chicopee Housing Authority facing discrimination lawsuit by Feds

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BOSTON (WWLP) – The Chicopee Housing Authority and its Executive Director, Monica Blazic, are facing a lawsuit for violating the Fair Housing Act based on disability.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the defendants violated the Fair Housing Act by failing to allow a tenant to transfer to a first floor or elevator accessible unit to accommodate her disability. According to the complaint the tenant has end stage renal disease and without the transfer to another unit, has been unable to receive daily in-home dialysis. The complaint alleges that the tenant applied for a transfer based on her disability in 2017, and since that time the Chicopee Housing Authority offered 10 vacant apartments, any one of which could have accommodated the tenant, to other individuals.

The matter was originally investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which, in March 2021, issued a charge against the Chicopee Housing Authority and Blazic after finding that there was probable cause of discrimination. The tenant elected to have the charge decided in federal court, authorizing the U.S. Attorney’s Office to file suit.

The lawsuit seeks entry of an order requiring the defendants to accommodate the tenant’s disability, pay the defendant monetary damages, and cease discrimination against any tenant based upon disability.

Individuals who have information about discrimination and the Chicopee Housing Authority can contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Unit by calling 617-748-3100 and asking for the Civil Rights Intake Specialist, or emailing usama.victimassistance@doj.gov.

“Common decency and — thankfully — the Fair Housing Act both require reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. The allegations here deserve attention, and we are happy to provide it,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell.

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