For Immediate Release
November 29, 2018
Contact: Jessica Aiwuyor | (202) 898-1661 | firstname.lastname@example.org
DC Attorney General’s Office Files Lawsuit Against Evolve, LLC Following National Fair Housing Alliance Complaint and Investigation
Today, the DC Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against Evolve, LLC in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia for its ongoing practice of housing discrimination against tenants with Housing Choice (Section 8) vouchers in Washington, DC. In April 2018, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) filed a fair housing complaint with the Washington, DC, Office of Human Rights against Evolve LLC (“Evolve”). Now, after its own investigation, the DC AG’s office is filing its own complaint against Evolve, LLC, requesting a court order for emergency injunctive relief to put an end to Evolve’s housing discrimination practices. The DC AG’s office is pursuing the novel approach of suing Evolve under local consumer protections in the Consumer Protection Procedures Act.
“We applaud Attorney General Racine for using all the tools at his disposal to challenge illegal housing discrimination against renters in the District that use housing vouchers,” said NFHA President and CEO Lisa Rice. “NFHA will continue to aggressively pursue our civil rights claims against Evolve in conjunction with the Attorney General’s action.”
Evolve is a privately-owned development company that owns and manages multi-family housing in the District. NFHA’s investigation found that Evolve uses its website to deter prospective tenants who intend to use Housing Choice Vouchers. When prospective tenants visit www.evolvedc.com and attempt to schedule an apartment viewing, they are required to identify whether they intend to use a “Section 8” voucher to pay rent. If the prospective tenant selects “yes,” the system does not allow them to schedule a viewing. NFHA’s investigation also found that when testers called Evolve to inquire about viewing an apartment, the company’s owners consistently stated they do not accept Housing Choice Vouchers.
“Discrimination against Housing Choice Vouchers exacerbates displacement that can come with gentrification,” Rice added. In Washington, DC, fair housing laws make it illegal for landlords to discriminate because someone intends to use a Housing Choice Voucher. The Housing Choice Voucher program gives participants the opportunity to choose where they live. Landlords like Evolve who engage in unlawful discrimination deprive these families of their freedom. Their practices also perpetuate segregation by excluding voucher recipients from predominantly White DC neighborhoods, like Capitol Hill, where the investigated property is located.
Founded in 1988, the National Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Fair Housing Alliance, through comprehensive education, advocacy, enforcement programs, and neighborhood-based community development programs, provides equal access to apartments, houses, mortgage loans, and insurance policies for all residents of the nation.