D.C. Ethiopian Woman Alleges Housing Discrimination at Building Near U Street Corridor

She was called "dirty" and "nasty," according to a new lawsuit.

Andrew Giambrone
Washington City Paper
February 6,2017

housing complex - Washington - Ethiopian Women
Source – Washington City Paper

A D.C. resident born in Ethiopia is suing the cooperative association of an apartment complex near the U Street corridor for allegedly denying her housing on the basis of her national origin. She was pregnant with her second child and looking for larger accommodations at the time.

In a suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court for D.C., attorneys for Melikt Mengiste plan to argue that the cooperative association of 1901-07 15th St. NW and its president unlawfully discriminated against Mengiste in refusing to rent her an apartment there in 2015. According to the lawsuit, the cooperative association required Mengiste to “submit additional documentation” not required of other applicants—including verification forms from her employer and landlord—as part of her housing application, even after the complex’s management had “pre-approved” her that June. Though Mengiste complied, she was never contacted for a tenant interview, and was denied a unit in October without any explanation.

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