St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency

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Director: Charles Bryson
Phone: (314) 622-3301
Address: 1114 Market St., Suite 626, St. Louis, MO 63101

The St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency (CREA) monitors and investigates fair housing, equal employment, and public accommodation complaints. CREA is designated as a Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) and has a worksharing agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to investigate charges of housing discrimination. CREA also has a worksharing agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC) to investigate charges of employment discrimination. In addition to these enforcement activities, CREA provides information and referral services, dispute resolution, and education and outreach programs for the general community and professionals.

The City of St. Louis has the oldest official human rights agency Missouri. In 1943, Mayor Aloys P. Kaufmann appointed a 64-member Race-Relations Commission. However, the group was disbanded in 1949 due to a change in administration. Within a few months, a racial conflict ensued when Mayor Joseph M. Darst ordered desegregation of the Fairgrounds Park swimming pool. In response to the crisis, the Mayor appointed a 15-member Human Relations Council that immediately ordered a study of the Fairgrounds Park incident. One of the recommendations of this study was for the City to establish a human rights agency. Through the efforts of Mayor Darst, the St. Louis Council on Human Relations was founded on January 14, 1950 by the Board of Aldermen.

Initially, the Council on Human Relations’ role was advisory and it served the community chiefly through mediation. As the Civil Rights Movement progressed, the Council gained authority to conduct investigations on allegations of discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, and public hearings. In 1976, a new, comprehensive Civil Rights Ordinance was passed and the name of the agency was changed to St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency and the St. Louis Human Relations and Equal Opportunity Enforcement Agency. In 1992, another comprehensive ordinance was passed that addressed the changes brought about by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. This ordinance changed the agency’s name to the St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency (CREA).