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Residents Feared Low-Income Housing Would Ruin Their Suburb. It Didn’t.


Lawsuits by Mr. Pinkerton and the Justice Department, which argued that the city violated the Fair Housing Act by denying dwellings based on the race of prospective tenants, led to its eventual construction.

In late 2012, Deer Creek opened — three prairie-style apartment buildings with facades of cement siding and brick, pitched roofs and balconies for each unit. Eighty-six of the 102 apartments are reserved for tenants earning significantly less than the county’s median household income of $81,000.

Mr. Chiovatero, 60, feels some vindication in what the complex has become. He pulled his car into a parking lot across the street on a recent wind-swept afternoon and nodded toward the apartments with a smile. “Does that look like low-income housing to you?” he asked.

It is the sort of place that Mareza Landeros had thought was out of her price range, with modern amenities like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and large closets. But last year, Ms. Landeros, 28, and her two children moved into a two-bedroom unit for about $700 a month, less than half of the market rate.

“It’s a very relaxing, nice area,” said Ms. Landeros, who grew up in Milwaukee and works in nursing.

Still, she has felt like an “outcast” in New Berlin, she said. Ms. Landeros, who is Mexican-American, said she and her boyfriend, who is Black, have been harassed by the police. As a fervent Black Lives Matter supporter, she said she was discomfited by the “Trump 2020” and “We back the badge” signs that dot many yards.

She avoids taking her children to parks or other public spaces in New Berlin, which is 93 percent white, because it seems like people stare at them, she said.

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