The fair housing advocacy group Open Communities says it has reached a settlement with developers in Evanston to make an eight-story apartment building accessible to people with disabilities.
The agreement announced Friday settles a disability-related housing discrimination lawsuit brought by Open Communities against developers Focus Development, Inc. and Booth Hansen, Ltd.
The lawsuit claimed the Evanston apartment building, constructed in 2013, failed to meet accessibility requirements under the federal Fair Housing Act.
As part of the settlement, building modifications will be made over the next five years to make the 175 apartments and common areas accessible for people with disabilities, according to Open Communities.
“Today we celebrate a victory for people with disabilities in Evanston. And by upholding their fair housing rights, we also uphold the rights of all people, including those with mobility impairments, to live in the housing of their choice,” Open Communities Executive Director Gail Schechter said in a statement.
The developers also agreed to pay $175,000 in damages to Open Communities.
“This is the largest fair housing settlement in Evanston in more than 25 years since Open Communities (then known as the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs) and the city of Evanston successfully sued five real estate firms for racial steering and discriminating against African American home buyers,” the organization noted in a news release.