The Ruston Housing Authority (RHA) reached a settlement with the U.S.Department of Justice in a lawsuit alleging the residential organization was assigning vacancies to applicants based on race.

Justice Department Spokesperson Stephanie Finley reported that the settlement, that the housing authority has agreed to, includes paying $175,000 and adopting comprehensive new policies. The settlement must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Robert James.

According to the lawsuit filed by the justice department, the RHA assigned vacancies to African-Americans in three complexes in predominantly African-American neighborhoods. Likewise, potential white tenants were assigned vacancies in the remaining two complexes that were located in primarily white neighborhoods.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, the housing authority had explicitly reserved certain complexes for both white and African-American residents, but had, supposedly abandoned the de jure system. The former RHA project manager from 2003 to 2013 admitted in her sworn deposition testimony that she had continued the discriminatory practices.

"We have zero tolerance for housing providers that discriminate against individuals based on race," Finley said. "Today's settlement is an example of our continuing effort to end discrimination in such a vital need, housing."