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CNY Fair Housing Filed Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Discrimination Lawsuit In Federal Court



For more information contact: Sally Santangelo, Executive Director, (315) 471-0420 (ext. 206) or

Syracuse, NY – Last week, CNY Fair Housing filed a housing discrimination lawsuit in federal court against the owners and managers of Swiss Village Apartments and the Alps at Swiss Village for refusing to rent to individuals and families with limited English proficiency (“LEP”).

As alleged in the complaint, the owners of the sister apartment complexes located in DeWitt refuse to rent to people with a limited ability to speak English, even when such individuals have access to language assistance services. The practice has a blatant discriminatory effect on the basis of both race and national origin which are protected classes under fair housing laws.

According to CNY Fair Housing’s analysis, Asian, Hispanic, and Black individuals are 26, 14, and 2 times more likely, respectively, than non-Hispanic White individuals to be excluded by the owners’ language policy. The exclusionary effect is even more stark along lines of national origin, with foreign-born area residents up to 500 times more likely than U.S.-born residents to be denied housing by the owners’ policy against renting to LEP households.

“The Syracuse area is generally known for being a welcoming place for new Americans. But our foreign-born community members still confront considerable obstacles to finding a safe place to call home,” said CNY Fair Housing’s Executive Director, Sally Santangelo. “When a housing provider refuses to rent to families because they have limited English proficiency, it’s not just wrong, it also has a discriminatory effect on our community’s foreign-born residents that violates both federal and state fair housing laws.”

CNY Fair Housing’s complaint follows an undercover testing investigation that it undertook after being alerted to Swiss Village’s language policy by a local housing services provider.

CNY Fair Housing is represented in its lawsuit by Staff Attorneys Casey Weissman-Vermeulen and Conor Kirchner.

CNY Fair Housing is a nonprofit organization that works to eliminate housing discrimination, promote open communities, and ensure equal access to housing opportunity for all people in Central and Northern New York.

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