United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
November 5, 1980
JAMES MORRIS, IN HIS OWN BEHALF AND AS PRESIDENT OF POTTAWATTAMIE AREA COMMITTEE, POTTAWATTAMIE AREA COMMITTEE, FUMI NAKASHIMA, MIGDALIA ORTEGA, CLIVE BECKFORD, JACQUELINE BECKFORD, TOMMIE JEFF, ANNA JEFF, BESSIE KALLOS, AND JOHN D. BLOUNT, PLAINTIFFS,
CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY, CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, DONALD HOAGLAND, DIRECTOR, CHARLES SWIBEL, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY, MOON LANDRIEU, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, RONALD GATTON, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, REGION 5, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, ELMER BINFORD, DIRECTOR OF THE CHICAGO AREA OFFICE OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
Presently before the court is plaintiffs' motion for a
preliminary injunction. Rule 65, Fed.R.Civ.P. A hearing was held
on October 31, 1980.
This case presents a challenge to the Chicago Housing
Authority's choice of a location for the construction of low
income public housing units in the City of Chicago. CHA site
selection practices have been the subject of litigation in this
district for the last fourteen years. In 1969, the late Judge
Austin of this court found that the CHA had, for many years prior
thereto, engaged in discriminatory site selection practices in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 1983. Gautreaux v. Chicago
Housing Authority, 296 F. Supp. 907 (N.D.Ill. 1969). Judge Austin
entered an injunction ordering that affirmative action be taken
to remedy the effects of CHA's past discriminatory practices.
Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority, 304 F. Supp. 736 (N.D.Ill.
1969). This injunction has been modified many times, most
recently by Judge Crowley's order of May 18, 1979. Gautreaux v.
Chicago Housing Authority, 66 C 1459, 66 C 1460 (consolidated).
The plaintiffs contend that CHA construction of low income
public housing units at 7433-37 North Wolcott Avenue violates the
Gautreaux injunction. They also contend that the CHA construction
will violate 42 U.S.C. § 1982, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., Title VIII of the Fair
Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1437 et seq.,
and 42 U.S.C. § 4331 et seq.
The court has been presented with a rather broadly pleaded
complaint and motion. At this stage of the proceedings, however,
the issue has been narrowly limited by plaintiffs. Specifically,
the plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction enjoining the
construction of "12 units of very low income large family
housing" at 7433-37 North Wolcott Avenue in Chicago.
The evidence adduced at the hearing related mainly to the
racial make-up of the neighborhood in which the CHA site is
located. The defendant Chicago Housing Authority has commenced
construction of two apartment buildings on a lot located at
7433-37 North Wolcott Avenue (CHA site) for housing poor families
of low income. The construction site is located one block south
of Evanston in the community of Rogers Park in the City of
Chicago. When completed, each apartment building will contain six
Plaintiff James Morris testified that he recently conducted a
door-to-door survey of some of the buildings within a one block
distance of the CHA site. He calculated on the basis of his
informal survey that within a one-block distance of the site,
approximately 60% of the residents were white and 40% of the
residents were either black, latino or oriental. Chicago Board of
Education statistics submitted by plaintiffs at the hearing
indicate that, as of October 31, 1979, the student population of
the public schools in Rogers Park consisted of approximately 46%
white-non-hispanic students and 64% black, oriental and hispanic
students. Board of Education statistics do not
provide an exact measure for determining changes in the racial
mix of the area, however, because the racial characteristics of
the students attending public schools do not necessarily reflect
those of the total population of the community.
Census data indicates that the white population of census tract
102, in which the CHA site is located, exceeded 90% in 1970.
However, the statistical subgroups of the 1979 census and the
Board of Education figures differ, making it difficult to
quantify the changes that have taken place in the area since 1970
by comparing these figures. Nevertheless, it is safe to conclude
that census tract 102 has become significantly more integrated
The testimony of Lorraine Woos corroborated Mr. Morris'
estimate of the racial make-up of the area around the CHA site.
She also conducted an informal survey of an area just a few
blocks northeast of the CHA site and she testified that over 50%
of the residents of that area are black and another 15% of the
residents are latino. Ms. Woos also testified that approximately
50% of the black residents in the area she surveyed receive some
form of public assistance. This area is located within census
tract 101 which had a white population exceeding 90% in 1970.
To succeed in obtaining a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff
must establish a reasonable probability of success on the merits,
irreparable injury, the lack of serious adverse effects on
others, and sufficient public interest. Ekanem v. Health &
Hospital Corp. of Marion City, 589 F.2d 316 at 319 (7th Cir.
No evidence was presented at the hearing showing what, if any,
involvement the defendants, other than CHA, have in the
construction of the two buildings at issue. In particular, it was
not shown that there is any federal, state or city involvement in
the site selection or financing of this construction. Thus, no
predicate for injunctive relief against the federal defendants,
the City of Chicago, or the Illinois Housing and Development
Authority exists at this time. Assuming arguendo that the CHA
construction is financed in part by the federal government, and
that the requirements of the federal housing statutes apply in
this case, see e.g. Otero v. New York City Housing Authority,
484 F.2d 1122 at 1133, 1134 (2d Cir. 1973); King v. Harris,
464 F. Supp. 827 at 837, 838 (E.D.N.Y. 1979), the plaintiffs have
failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their
claim that the construction of the two apartment buildings at
issue would result in a violation of the defendant's duty to
promote racial integration. In Otero, the court stated:
"We do not view [the duty to integrate] as a `one-way
street' limited to introduction of non-white persons
into a predominantly white community. The Authority
is obligated to take affirmative steps to promote
racial integration even though this may in some
instances not operate to the immediate advantage of
some non-white persons. An authority may not, for
instance, select sites for projects which will be
occupied by non-whites only in areas already
heavily concentrated with a high proportion of
non-whites . . . Not only may such practices be
enjoined, but affirmative action to erase the effects
of past discrimination and desegregate housing
patterns may be ordered." (emphasis added).
Aside from the plaintiffs' failure at this point to persuade the
court that the CHA construction of two six-flat buildings will
result in the "ghettoization" of this neighborhood,*fn1 they
have failed to persuade the court that the proposed site is
located in a community at the "tipping point", i.e. the point at
which a further increase in the number of minority residents will
result in the "rapid flight of an existing majority class."
Trinity Episcopal School Corp. v. Romney, 387 F. Supp. 1044 at
1065-66 (W.D.N.Y. 1974), cf. King v. Harris, 464 F. Supp. at 842
(E.D.N.Y. 1979). No evidence was
presented to the court that indicates the existence of any other
public housing in the Rogers Park community. Moreover, the
plaintiffs have failed to submit any evidence relating to any
other CHA construction presently underway. Thus, the plaintiffs
have not shown a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the
merits of any of their statutory claims or that the failure to
issue a preliminary injunction will result in irreparable injury.
Finally, the public interest militates against the issuance of
a preliminary injunction. As the court has already noted, the CHA
has been ordered by Judge Crowley to take immediate steps to
comply with the injunction entered in Gautreaux. In June, the
defendant narrowly escaped the imposition of a court appointed
receiver. The plaintiffs' attempt to demonstrate a violation of
the injunction in Gautreaux falls short of the mark. Even taking
plaintiffs' evidence for all that it is worth, the construction
of two six-flat apartment buildings in what the Gautreaux
injunction terms a "Limited Public Housing Area", would not
violate the injunction, as modified by Judge Crowley's May 18
order, unless "no new construction of a like amount of units in
the "General Public Housing Area" has commenced.*fn2 Given the
lack of evidence concerning what, if any, other construction the
CHA is engaged in at this time, this court is unable to conclude
that it should interfere in CHA's apparent attempts to achieve
good faith compliance with the court's order in Gautreaux. The
public interest was clearly expressed by Judge Crowley in his
June 6, 1980 order denying the appointment of a receiver to
[W]ith its increased staff, and the benefits of the
suggestions of the urban consultant and the Special
Master, the CHA has every opportunity to finally
render the relief to the members of the plaintiff
class which they so justly deserve and which is so
Since the plaintiffs have not shown either a likelihood of
success on the merits of their statutory claims or a violation of
the court's order in Gautreaux, the motion for a preliminary
injunction is denied. This order shall constitute the court's
findings of fact and conclusions of law. Rule 82, Fed.R.Civ.P.