The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday that the Salvation Army will pay $48,000 to four women as part of a conciliation agreement resolving allegations that the international charitable organization wrongfully evicted them from its Turning Point transitional housing center in Washington, D.C., because they became pregnant.
The Salvation Army also agreed to set aside $24,000 for a housing case manager.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in housing based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status.
This includes discriminating against families with children under 18 years old, women who are pregnant, and persons who are attempting to secure legal custody of a child under 18.
“Transitional housing centers are essential to helping individuals move from homelessness into stable housing situations,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, “but it is both wrong and illegal to evict women because they become pregnant.”
The conciliation agreement is the result of a secretary-initiated complaint that HUD filed against the Salvation Army after an investigation determined that the Turning Point Center’s residency rules unlawfully discriminated against residents on the basis of sex and familial status.
The center accepted pregnant women and women with children, but evicted women who became pregnant during the term of their residency.
The Salvation Army’s Turning Point Center maintained a policy that said “there are to be no additions to a resident’s family while she is enrolled in the Turning Point Program. Pregnancy, regardless of outcome, will be grounds for dismissal from the program.”
Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, the Turning Point Center will revise its residency policies to allow women who become pregnant after entering the program to complete their stay.
The Salvation Army will also pay $12,000 to each of four women who were pregnant at the time they were evicted from the Turning Point Center.