People gather to demand equal opportunities from Decatur Housing Authority

DHA protest

DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Tensions are once again rising because of claims of racial discrimination involving the Decatur Housing Authority.

After a $200,000 settlement was reached, some people think the settlement isn’t enough.

On Saturday, local advocacy groups pushed back against racial segregation they claim is happening within the Decatur Housing Authority and demanded equal housing opportunities for every Decatur Housing Authority resident.

Community organizer Onayemi Williams said they’re calling for city leaders to allow the community to be apart of the change through action research.

“It’s important that if you suffer from color blindness that you bring some people who aren’t color blind,” Williams said. “Who can see the disparities of a situation and draw attention and have a conversation, an honest conversation about what’s taking place in the community,”

Earlier this month we told you about a housing and urban development investigation. That investigation claims the Decatur Housing Authority discriminated against Blacks who were on the waiting lists for homes at Jordan-Neill and Summer Manor apartments.

Both apartments overlook the water and have parks and walking trails.

Paperwork cited instances in which Black applicants on the waiting list for the apartments were not offered units as they became available. Instead, they were offered units only at Westgate Gardens, that some say aren’t as nice.

The Decatur Housing Authority settled those claims for $200,000, which went to many of the victims of the alleged discrimination and some of the money is supposed to be used to upgrade Westgate Gardens.

Those apartments don’t have access to parks, walking trails, or a waterfront view

Sheila Jones, whose mother lives in Westgate Gardens, said there’s still so much to be done.

“They just ain’t doing what they supposed to be doing,” she said. “You’re getting the money to take care of these people. You want the rent, but you don’t want to do nothing for them. So I feel like there’s got to be a lot changed around here,”

Morgan County NAACP President Rodney Gordan said the bottom line is about making things right.

“Its not a matter of who’s right,” Gordon said. “It’s what’s right and allowing us to review, like she said, that’s a chance to make things right. We can make it right.”

We also reached out to leaders of the Decatur Housing Authority, regarding the protest, but we are still waiting to hear back from them.

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