MAR 20, 2013 12:57pm ET

Cornerstone Settles on Costly Fair Housing Discrimination Case

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Following a discrimination lawsuit settlement, Cornerstone Group Development Corporation has agreed to pay millions in damages and to provide Fair Housing Act compliance training to its employees.

Cornerstone, known as one of the largest developers of affordable multifamily housing in Florida and the U.S., will pay $1.35 million in damages, expenses, attorney fees and other costs to the National Fair Housing Alliance and West Palm Beach Coalition for Independent Living Options, an advocacy agency for people with disabilities. 

The developer agreed to make modifications at more than 50 residential developments in Florida including over 5,000 apartments in order to comply with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

The agreement settles claims by NFHA and West Palm Beach CILO that Cornerstone Group and several of its affiliates discriminated against people with disabilities “by designing and/or constructing multifamily dwellings and public-use areas without the required accessibility features.”

Cornerstone has agreed to create and subsidize a Housing Accessibility Fund supervised by NFHA that “will help Floridians with disabilities make their homes more accessible.”

According to the nonprofit, Cornerstone will also provide training on the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements for executives and on-site construction managers operating in Florida.

Both organizations expect the settlement and measures taken by Cornerstone will help set a standard for other housing builders and developers.

This lawsuit matters because finding affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities is a challenge in Florida and nationally, said Shanna Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance.

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