PEORIA, IL—United States District Judge, Hon. Sara Darrow, entered an order on Monday to deny the City of Peoria's motion to dismiss the federal complaint filed by HOPE Fair Housing Center. In that complaint filed in August of 2017, HOPE alleged that the City’s enforcement of its “chronic nuisance ordinance” unlawfully targets African-Americans and survivors of domestic violence—violating the Fair Housing Act on the basis of race and sex and resulting in unwarranted evictions.
Peoria filed the motion to dismiss, challenging HOPE’s standing—injury in fact—arguing that HOPE has not suffered an injury as a result of the City’s enforcement of its chronic nuisance ordinance. In her order, Judge Darrow responds, “The Court disagrees. HOPE has sufficiently alleged an injury under Havens and Dwivedi. It alleges that Peoria’s discriminatory enforcement of the nuisance ordinance frustrates its mission of ‘ensuring that all people have equal access to housing opportunities, in Peoria and elsewhere in the region that HOPE serves.’ It alleges that this discriminatory conduct has caused [HOPE] to divert resources from its other work into ‘legal efforts directed against discrimination,’ including ‘analyzing the nature and scope of Peoria’s discriminatory conduct’ through interviewing affected people and filing and analyzing public records requests.”
Citing several other past cases, including some that HOPE was party to, Peoria further argued that this case was similar to those in which housing organizations were denied standing. In her analysis, Judge Darrow determined that, “But considering all of the Complaint’s allegations… these cases actually support a finding of standing at this stage.”