Southtown Redevelopment

The Rice Law Firm, LLC. has filed a lawsuit against the city of Birmingham on behalf of the residents of the Southtown Public Housing Community over alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act. A press conference announcing the lawsuit has been scheduled for Friday, September 1 at 9:30 a.m. in the Southtown Court Public Housing Community auditorium.

The lawsuit seeks "monetary, declaratory, and injunctive relief" from what it describes as discriminatory practices by the named defendants, the Housing Authority Birmingham District of the City of Birmingham and the Southside Development Group.The lawsuit asserts that the Housing Authority and and Southside Redevelopment Group have violated the Fair Housing Act, which prevents discrimination based upon national origin, race, color, disability and familial status, and would have disproportionate impact on African-Americans in general and low-income African-Americans in particular.

The Southtown residents represented as plaintiffs in the suit include Irene Johnson, the president of the Southtown Neighborhood Association and Resident Council President of the Tenant Council in Southtown as well as four other residents. It also alleges that there have been no meaningful meetings or inclusion of current Southtown residents in the redevelopment planning process. In addition, the suit says that Birmingham officials and representatives of HABD have withheld information on the ability for Southtown residents to return after development and the availability of homeownership/voucher programs.