COMMONWEALTH OF'MASSACHUSETTS COMMISSION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

MCAD Docket No.

EDDA AMARO, et al, Complainants, v. CITY OF HOLYOKE and HOLYOKE HOUSING AUTHORITY, Respondents.

COMPLAINT

INTRODUCTION The City of Holyoke and its Housing Authority have decided to seek permission to demolish Lyman Terrace, a public housing project in the downtown area. Because most of the Lyman Terrace residents are Hispanic, the destruction of their homes away from Holyoke and the residents' relocation

would have a disparate impact on a protected class and would, therefore,

constitute unlawful discrimination. Complainants are asking the Commission to seek an injunction from the Superior Court to stop the demolition. A. PARTIES Complainants 1. 2. Complainant Edda Amaro resides at Lyman Terrace (54 West Court) and is Hispanic. Complainant Sonia Gonzalez resides at Lyman Terrace (55 East Court) and is Hispanic.

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3.

Complainant Jacqueline Hernandez resides at Lyman Terrace (37 West Court) and is

Hispanic. 4. 5. Complainant Edwin Mendoza resides at Lyman Terrace (6 Oliver Street) and is Hispanic. Complainant Jennette Rodriguez resides at Lyman Terrace (56 West Court) and is

Hispanic. 6. Complainant Lugui Sanchez resides at Lyman Terrace (48 East Court) and is Hispanic. Respondents 7. Respondent City of Holyoke is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of

Massachusetts with a principal office at City Hall, 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA 01040. The officer of city government authorized to accept service ofthis Complaint is Mayor Alex B. Morse. Complainants name Mr. Morse solely and exclusively for the purposes of service pursuant to 804 C.M.R. 1.08, and nothing herein should be construed as a claim against Mr. Morse individually.

8.

Respondent Holyoke Housing Authority is a public body politic and corporate created

under M.G.L. c. 121B, §3 and an operating agency with the capacity to sue and be sued under §§8 and 11. Its principal office is at 475 Maple Street, Holyoke, MA 01040. The officer authorized to accept service of this Complaint is Rosalie M. Deane, Executive Director. Complainants name Ms. Deane solely and exclusively for the purposes of service pursuant to 804 C.M.R. 1.08, and nothing herein should be construed as a claim against Ms. Deane individually.

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B. CLASS ALLEGATIONS 9. Complainants bring this action individually and, on behalf of the residents of Lyman

Terrace, as a class action pursuant to C.M.R. 1.09(4). 10. The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impractical. Questions oflaw and

fact are common to the class, and Complainants' claims are typical of the claims of the other class members. As representative parties, Complainants will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class. The public interest is served by a class proceeding. C. JURISDICTION 11. The Commission has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to M.G.L. c. 151B, §4(6);

M.G.L. c. 121B, §32; and, as a participant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Housing Assistance Program, the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. §3601, et seq. D. FACTS 12. Lyman Terrace is a public housing site comprising 18 buildings containing 167 units

located at 122 Lyman Street within the City of Holyoke. 13. Lyman Terrace is federally assisted housing within the meaning of24 C.F.R. §5.100 in

that it receives project-based or tenant-based assistance under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437F). 14. Lyman Terrace is publicly assisted, contiguously located, multiple dwelling housing

accommodation within the meaning ofM.G.L. c. 151B, §§1(10) and 4(6). 15. Lyman Terrace constitutes an Environmental Justice Community within the meaning of

the Environmental Justice Policy of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, which designation applies to neighborhoods with an annual median Page 3 of8

household income equal to or less than 65 percent of the statewide median or whose population is made up 25 per cent minority, foreign born, or lacking English language proficiency. 16. Respondent City of Holyoke administers programs and activities that receive assistance

from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including but not limited to EPA Brownfields Program funding. 17. Respondents City of Holyoke and Holyoke Housing Authority are persons within the

meaning ofM.G.L. c. 151B, §l. 18. 19. Respondent City of Holyoke is the owner of Lyman Terrace. Respondent Holyoke Housing Authority is the managing agent of, or a person with the

right to rent or lease, Lyman Terrace. 20. On or about March 13,2012, Respondent Holyoke Housing Authority issued a Request

for Proposals (RFP) for the sale, demolition, and redevelopment of Lyman Terrace. 21. Respondents have sought permission from the federal Department of Housing and Urban

Development CHUD) to demolish Lyman Terrace .. 22. The majority of Lyman Terrace's approximately 400 residents are Hispanic. The

demolition of Lyman Terrace would, therefore, have a disparate impact on a protected class, namely Hispanics. 23. Aside from Lyman Terrace, the number of affordable housing units in Holyoke is not

sufficient to accommodate the residents of Lyman Terrace. Without Lyman Terrace, Complainants anticipate having to leave Holyoke.

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E. LEGAL CLAIMS

Count I: Federal Fair Housing Act
24. Complainants reallege and incorporate by reference the factual allegations contained in

each and every other paragraph of this Complaint. 25. The acts and omissions of the Defendants actually and predictably result in

discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in that while fair in form they are discriminatory in operation, in violation the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. § 3604). 26. Complainants face irreparable harm and have no adequate remedy at law.

Count II: Federal Environmental Protection Regulations
27. Complainants reallege and incorporate by reference the factual allegations contained in

each and every other paragraph of this Complaint. 28. The acts and omissions of Respondents have the effect of subjecting Complainants to

discrimination on the basis ofrace, color, and national origin in violation of 40 C.F.R. Part 7, Subpart B. 29. Complainants face irreparable harm and have no adequate remedy at law.

Count III: Massachusetts Constitution
30. Complainants reallege and incorporate by reference the factual allegations contained in

each and every other paragraph of this Complaint. 31. The acts and omissions of Respondents deny or abridge Complainants' equality under the

law because of race, color, and national origin, in violation of Article 1 of Part the First of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Page 50f8

32.

Complainants face irreparable harm and have no adequate remedy at law; Count IV: Chapter 151B

33.

Complainants reallege and incorporate by reference the factual allegations contained in

each and every other paragraph of this Complaint. 34. The acts and omissions of the Respondents constitute discrimination in the terms,

conditions, and privileges of housing accommodations and in the furnishing of facilities and services in connection therewith, in violation ofM.O.L. c. 151B, §4(6)(b). 35. Complainants face irreparable harm and have no adequate remedy at law. Count V: Chapter 121B, §32 36. Complainants reallege and incorporate by reference the factual allegations contained in

each and every other paragraph of this Complaint. 37. The acts and omissions of the Respondents constitute discrimination in violation of

M.O.L. c. 121B, §32. 38. Complainants face irreparable harm and have no adequate remedy at law. F. REQUEST FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE Complainants respectfully request that the Commission: a. Issue an order certifying this action as a class action pursuant to 804 C.M.R. 1.10(8);

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b.

Seek an order from the Superior Court in Hampden County restraining and enjoining Respondents from demolishing, selling, or otherwise disposing of Lyman Terrace;

c. d. e.

Award Complainants damages; Award Complainants their reasonable attorney's fees and costs; and Order such further relief as the Commission deems just and appropriate. Respectfully Submitted, The Complainants, By Their Attorney:

July 31, 2012

Peter Vickery, Esq. BBO # 641574 256 North Pleasant Street, Suite 2 Amherst, MA 01002 Tel. (413) 5499933 Email: peter@petervickery.com

G. VERIFICATION I, Edda Amaro, verify, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that I have read the foregoing Complaint and that the allegations contained herein are true to the best of my knowledge.

I, Sonia Gonzalez, verify, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that I have read the foregoing Complaint and that the allegations contained herein are true to the best of my knowledge.

_j~ July 30,2012'

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I, Jacqueline Hernandez, verify, under the pains and penalties of perjury, 1ft I have read the hat foregoing Complaint and that the allegations contained herein are true to the best of my knowledge.

I

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I, Edwin Mendoza, verify, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that I have read the foregoing
Complaint and that the allegations contained herein are true to the best of my knowledge.

I, Jennette Rodriguez, verify, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that I have read the foregoing Complaint and that the allegations contained herein are true to the best of my knowledge.

I,Lugui Sanchez verify, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that I have read the foregoing Complaint and that the allegations contained herein are true to the best of my knowledge .

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