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NFHA header image: Fair Housing is Your Right. Use It.
May 17, 2016
 
National Fair Housing Alliance Takes Action to Stop Discrimination against Housing Choice Voucher Holders
WASHINGTON, DC—The National Fair Housing Alliance filed a federal lawsuit alleging race, sex and source of income discrimination against Travelers Indemnity Company and Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America (Travelers) for failing to provide habitational insurance to apartment owners who rent to tenants who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program.

To learn more about this important issue, see a copy of the complaint or access the news release, click here.
April 11, 2016
 
Third Annual NFHA 1K Poetry Slam — RISE
Congratulations to winners Porsha O and Cedric Harper

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Fair Housing Alliance thanks the artists and audience members who participated in “RISE Slam,” the third annual NFHA 1K Poetry Slam event, held on April 11, 2016, at Busboys and Poets. Twelve world-renowned
Porsha O
Porsha O
spoken word artists from DC and across the country competed with original, socially-minded poems for cash and prizes totaling over $2000.

We congratulate our first place winner, Porsha O (Olayiwola), a “Black, poet, dyke-god, hip-hop feminist, womanist” performance artist.
Cedric Harper
Cedric Harper
Ms. Olayiwola previously won the 2015 National Poetry Slam and was the 2014 Individual World Poetry Champion.

In addition, we congratulate Cedric “Remedy” Harper, the winner of our first-ever “Write the Wrongs” high school writing competition. Mr. Harper, a student at Cesar Chavez PCS here in DC, performed his winning poem and will receive a $1,000 scholarship to the educational institution of his choice.
 
December 3, 2015
 
Housing Accessibility Lawsuit Settles for $600,000
Shockoe Valley View Apartments in Richmond, Va. Will Also Receive Retrofits

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc. (HOME) have settled a housing discrimination case with Hunt Investments, LLC; Walter Parks, Architect, PLLC; MGT Construction Management, Inc.; Cedar Street Genesis, LLC; and Genesis Homes Manager, LLC. The case alleged that the defendants violated the federal Fair Housing Act by failing to design and construct Shockoe Valley View Apartments in compliance with accessibility requirements. The Fair Housing Act requires all new multi-family housing built after 1991 to be accessible and usable by people with disabilities. The agreement settles all claims.

In addition to retrofitting the complex to be accessible for people with disabilities, the defendants also agreed to pay $600,000 in damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees. NFHA and HOME will establish a $100,000 accessibility fund to help retrofit other homes in the community.

“It is important that the Shockoe Valley View Apartments are being modified to increase accessibility for the 151 units in that complex,” said Shanna L. Smith, NFHA’s President and CEO. “But it is our broader hope that this settlement will send a clear message to architects, builders, and developers in Virginia and across the country that apartment buildings must be designed and built so people with disabilities can travel around the property and maneuver through their apartments without encountering barriers.”

Click here to read the entire press release.
Click here to read the settlement agreement.
November 18, 2015
 
208 Groups Call on House and Senate Leaders
to Reject Anti-Fair Housing Riders in FY2016 Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance delivered a letter signed by over 200 local, state, and national organizations, public officials, and businesses addressed to House and Senate leaders urging them to reject any policy riders that strip local fair housing organizations and the federal government of the resources and tools they need to protect Americans from housing discrimination.

In June, the House of Representatives approved Fiscal Year 2016 spending bills for the Department of Justice (CJS) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) that:
  • Eliminate Private Enforcement Initiative grants under the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, the only dedicated federal funding for private nonprofit fair housing organizations to conduct local enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
  • Prohibit HUD from implementing and enforcing its recently released Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which provides much-needed guidance and data to local and state governments on how to meet their existing responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
  • Prohibit HUD and DOJ from enforcing HUD’s Discriminatory Effects rule, which provides a unified legal standard for how to bring and defend against complaints against unjustified housing policies and practices that have discriminatory consequences.

“These policy riders make no sense and they strike at the heart of America’s civil rights enforcement infrastructure. Private nonprofit fair housing organizations use FHIP grants to investigate nearly 70% of all reported complaints of housing discrimination nationwide, and their investigations and testing result in filtering out meritless complaints that only clog up the administrative complaint process” said Shana Smith, President & CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance.

“HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is nothing new, and it actually provides local and state governments with the guidance and data they need to help them create opportunities in their communities by removing barriers to fair housing choice – this is an existing requirement under the Fair Housing Act. HUD’s Discriminatory Effects rule implements a legal standard of bringing fair housing complaints that has been in use for decades, and that the Supreme Court just upheld.”

“The American people stand to lose the most if these riders are to become law. Congress should do away with these and other ideological riders with a clean Continuing Resolution and instead focus on removing the budget caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011,” said Smith.

Click here to view the press release.
Click here to view the the letter.
Click here for a brief fact sheet about the anti-fair housing amendments that were adopted by the House of Representatives.
 
The Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Done Had Nothing to Do With Me

by Ise Lyfe

The most important thing I’ve ever done had nothing to do with me, and honestly and humbly, I have done my share of important things.


Ise Lyfe is an artist, writer and educator.
That’s the way it goes though doesn’t it? Grow up, choose something to do, and do it so well that people will see it as important. Especially you, yourself — you definitely better see yourself as important. Lucky for you, if you don’t see yourself as important our society has been inventive and has (d)evolved with new ways and tools to be important or at least feel important. There was the Stone Ages, Dark Ages, Golden Ages, and now the epic Self-Important Ages!

Read more…
November 17, 2015
 
Fair Housing Centers Settle Housing Accessibility Lawsuit in Washington and Idaho against Rudeen Development and Several Co-Defendants
Accessible Design and Construction Requirements of the Fair Housing Act Have Been in Place Since 1991
WASHINGTON, DC—The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Intermountain Fair Housing Council, and Northwest Fair Housing Alliance have settled a housing accessibility lawsuit against Rudeen Development, LLC and several co-defendants. The lawsuit alleged violations of accessibility requirements at:
  • River View Apartments (Coeur d’Alene, ID)
  • Villas at River View Apartments (Coeur d’Alene, ID)
  • Mountain View Apartments (Ponderay, ID)
  • Bentley Apartments (Spokane, WA)
  • and Mirabolante Apartments (Spokane Valley, WA).

The agreement settles claims that Rudeen and other defendants designed or constructed multifamily dwellings and common- and public-use areas without the accessibility features required under the Federal Fair Housing Act. The defendants have agreed to make improvements and modifications at the five apartment complexes which will enhance the accessibility of apartments and common areas for persons with disabilities. The defendants have also agreed to pay the fair housing centers $225,000 in damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

“We appreciate the cooperation of Rudeen Development in achieving an efficient resolution of this dispute,” said Shanna L. Smith, NFHA’s President and CEO. “Their commitment to making their apartments more accessible to people with disabilities is an important victory for residents of Idaho and Washington.”

Click here to read the entire press release.
Click here to read the settlement agreement.
November 10, 2015
 
Fair Housing Organizations and Ryan Companies Reach Agreement to Make Housing Complexes Accessible for People with Disabilities

Veterans and Seniors Benefit from $2.7 Million Settlement

WINNETKA, IL—The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Open Communities, and HOPE Fair Housing Center (HOPE) have reached an agreement with Ryan Companies US, Inc. to make Ryan properties compliant with the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act. Ryan Companies has agreed to make alterations to over 900 apartments, resolving a lawsuit involving 10 housing complexes located in Illinois and Iowa, over the next 24 months so the apartments and all common areas wil be accessible for people with disabilities.

In addition to making these modifications, Ryan Companies will pay a total of $875,000 to NFHA, Open Communities, and HOPE for damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and frustration of the core mission of the fair housing agencies.

Click here to read the entire press release.
Click here to read the consent decree.
October 29, 2015
 
CFPB Wins Default Judgment Against Corinthian Colleges for Engaging in a Predatory Lending Scheme

Court Rules that Corinthian Engaged in Deceptive Lending Practices and Illegal Debt Collection Practices

WASHINGTON, DC—At the request of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal court entered a final default judgment against Corinthian Colleges, Inc., resolving a lawsuit filed by CFPB in September 2014.

The lawsuit alleged that Corinthian lured tens of thousands of students into taking out private loans to cover expensive tuition costs by advertising bogus job prospects and career services. Corinthian then used illegal debt collection practices to strong-arm students into paying back those loans while in school. The court ordered that Corinthian was liable for more than $530 million and prohibited the company from engaging in future misconduct.

Click here to read the entire press release.
October 22, 2015
 
Why LGBT People Can Still Face Discrimination in Housing

A majority of states still do not ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people in housing or in employment, public accommodations, credit, and education. “Out spoken and ridiculous comedian” and YouTuber Hartbeat explains in this video why all Americans should have the same protections from discrimination when seeking housing.


Learn more about the need for comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination protections on the LGBT webpage of the Center for American Progress.
October 21, 2015
 
Race Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against
Long Island German American Settlement League

Restriction on Membership Act as Barrier to Non-White Home Buyers

YAPHANK, NY—Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (LIHS), in conjunction with the owners of a home in Siegfried Park, filed a lawsuit against the German American Settlement League (GASL), the group that has owned the land under the homes in the private community since the late 1930s, when the American Bund Party sold the land to GASL.

The homeowners, Philip Kneer and Patricia Flynn-Kneer, contacted LIHS, a National Fair Housing Alliance member agency, for assistance after having been unable to sell their home as a result of restrictions on membership and advertising in the GASL bylaws. The complaint filed by LIHS and the Kneers alleges that GASL’s restrictions act as a barrier to prospective home buyers who are not white people of German ancestry or background and that the restrictions discriminate on the bases of race and national origin in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The New York Times has an article, “Nazi Past of Long Island Hamlet Persists in a Rule for Home Buyers,” that details the history of the GASL, Siegfried Park, and Yaphank, the Long Island city in which Siegfried Park is located.

Click here to read LIHS’ press release.
Click here to read the complaint.
September 24, 2015
 
CFPB and DOJ Order Hudson City Savings Bank to Pay $27 Million to Increase Mortgage Credit Access in Communities Illegally Redlined

Bank Illegally Denied Black and Hispanic Neighborhoods Fair Access to Mortgages

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a joint action against Hudson City Savings Bank for discriminatory redlining practices that denied residents in majority-Black-and-Hispanic neighborhoods fair access to mortgage loans. The complaint filed by the CFPB and DOJ alleges that Hudson City illegally provided unequal access to credit to neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The bank located branches and loan officers, selected mortgage brokers, and marketed products to avoid and thereby discourage prospective borrowers in predominantly Black and Hispanic communities. If the proposed consent order is approved by the court, Hudson City will pay $25 million in direct loan subsidies to qualified borrowers in the affected communities, $2.25 million in community programs and outreach, and a $5.5 million penalty. This represents the largest redlining settlement in history to provide such direct subsidies.

Click here to read the entire press release.
September 15, 2015
 
New York Times Cites NFHA Investigations
in Editorial about Effects of Continuing Segregation

“How Segregation Destroys Black Wealth”

In an editorial published today, the New York Times cites NFHA’s investigations of RE/MAX Alliance in Mississippi as evidence of the continuing housing discrimination encountered by African Americans:
Americans commonly — and mistakenly — believe that well-to-do black people no longer face the kind of discrimination that prevents them from living anywhere they can afford. But a federal housing discrimination complaint filed last week by the National Fair Housing Alliance shows that this toxic problem is very much with us, nearly 50 years after Congress outlawed housing discrimination in the Fair Housing Act.

The editorial, titled “How Segregation Destroys Black Wealth,” also cites research done by the Ofice of Population Research at Princeton University that shows the potential home wealth lost by African Americans as well as the economic gains lost by lack of access to neighborhoods of higher opportunity.

Click here to read the entire editorial.
September 11, 2015
 
Discrimination Complaint Filed against
RE/MAX Alliance / Lee Garland & Rita Jensen Team Agents

National Fair Housing Alliance Investigation Reveals Race Discrimination in Jackson, Mississippi, Real Estate Market


WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (“NFHA”) filed a housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development against Lorgroup, LLC and real estate agents in the RE/MAX Alliance/Lee Garland and Rita Jensen Team, including Lee Garland, Randy Inman, Lisa Bourgoyne, and Chase Belk, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act

NFHA conducted a series of fair housing tests of the Lee Garland and Rita Jensen Team of RE/MAX Alliance located in Brandon, Mississippi. During the roughly year-long investigation, white and black testers posed as home buyers and contacted the company to view homes in Jackson, Mississippi. The testers were similarly-qualified and had similar housing preferences.

According to the NFHA complaint, testing revealed that agents of the Lee Garland and Rita Jensen Team of RE/MAX Alliance discriminated on the basis of race. The agents steered the white home seekers away from interracial neighborhoods in Jackson, which is majority African American, and into majority white areas such as Pearl, Ridgeland, Richland, Clinton, Madison County, Rankin County, and Palahatchie. Conversely, the African American testers who inquired about properties in the Jackson area were often never called back and were generally provided very limited information.

During one test, both the white and black testers requested information about the same foreclosed property located in Jackson, Mississippi. The white tester was told that the house was under contract and was offered information about other properties. An agent showed the white tester multiple homes, mostly located in the predominantly white areas of Pearl and Richland, Mississippi. In contrast, the African American tester was not able to speak with an agent after leaving several messages at the agency’s primary contact number and ultimately was not afforded the opportunity to see homes in the area.

Under the federal Fair Housing Act it is illegal to discriminate in the housing market on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status.

Click here to view the press release.
August 7, 2015
 
Justice Department Files Brief to Address
the Criminalization of Homelessness


WASHINGTON, DC—The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest today arguing that making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places, when there is insufficient shelter space in a city, unconstitutionally punishes them for being homeless. The statement of interest was filed in federal district court in Idaho in Bell v. City of Boise et al., a case brought in 2009 by homeless plaintiffs who were convicted under Boise ordinances that criminalize sleeping or camping in public.

As stated by the Justice Department in its filing, “[i]t should be uncontroversial that punishing conduct that is a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human violates the Eighth Amendment… Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity—i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”

“Many homeless individuals are unable to secure shelter space because city shelters are over capacity or inaccessible to people with disabilities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “Criminally prosecuting those individuals for something as innocent as sleeping, when they have no safe, legal place to go, violates their constitutional rights. Moreover, enforcing these ordinances is poor public policy. Needlessly pushing homeless individuals into the criminal justice system does nothing to break the cycle of poverty or prevent homelessness in the future. Instead, it imposes further burdens on scarce judicial and correctional resources, and it can have long-lasting and devastating effects on individuals’ lives.”

“No one wants people to sleep on sidewalks or in parks, particularly not our veterans, or young people, or people with mental illness,” said Director Lisa Foster of the Office for Access to Justice. “But the answer is not to criminalize homelessness. Instead, we need to work with our local government partners to provide the services people need, including legal services, to obtain permanent and stable housing.”

In this case, the plaintiffs allege that enforcement of the city of Boise ordinances prohibiting sleeping or camping in public outdoor places, on nights when there is insufficient shelter space in Boise to accommodate the homeless population, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. In its filing, the United States does not take a position on the factual accuracy of the plaintiffs’ claims, but instead addresses the appropriate legal framework for analyzing their claims. The statement of interest advocates for the application of the analysis set forth in Jones v. City of Los Angeles, a Ninth Circuit decision that was subsequently vacated pursuant to a settlement. In Jones, the court considered whether the city of Los Angeles provided sufficient shelter space to accommodate the homeless population. The court found that, on nights when individuals are unable to secure shelter space, enforcement of anti-camping ordinances violated their constitutional rights. The parties in Bell v. City of Boise disagree about whether the Jones court’s analysis was correct, reflecting the longstanding disagreement among courts analyzing the constitutionality of anti-camping ordinances. The statement of interest was filed to address this currently unsettled area of the law.

Click here to view the DOJ statement of interest.
July 30, 2015
 
HUD Makes $39 Million Available to Fight Housing Discrimination

Six New Grant Categories to Support Variety of Fair Housing Activities

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is making $39.2 million available to fight housing discrimination under HUD’s 2015 Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). This year’s funding notice also creates six new types of grants that support fair housing capacity building, education and outreach activities, and testing in rental and sales transactions.

Each year, HUD makes funding available to support organizations interested in the enforcement of fair housing laws and policies as well as educating the public, housing providers, and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.

“The funding is part of the Department’s ongoing commitment to giving our fair housing partners the vital financial resources they need to create sustainable, inclusive communities of opportunity,” said HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Gustavo Velasquez. “Organizations dedicated to this work are an essential component of our efforts to put an end to unlawful housing discrimination and these grants make their work possible.”

Click here to view the HUD press release.
Click here to view the funding notice.
July 14, 2015
 
President Obama Speaks about
New Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule

“Making Our Communities Stronger through Fair Housing”

WASHINGTON, DC—Earlier this week President Obama, in his weekly radio address, spoke about his administration’s new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule that makes it easier for communities to implement the Fair Housing Act.

The President said that the new AFFH rule enables communities to ensure that housing is fair and that no American’s destiny is determined by a ZIP code.


#ZipCodeMatters
July 9, 2015
 
Take Action: Sign Letter Opposing Congressional Assault on Fair Housing

Tell the Senate to Reject the House of Representatives’ Anti-Fair Housing Language in Spending Bills

NFHA Members —

In June, the House of Representatives approved Fiscal Year 2016 spending bills for the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development with several amendments attached that severely undercut local fair housing enforcement and prohibit the federal government from using its authority to advance the Fair Housing Act’s mission of supporting diverse, inclusive communities where everyone has access to the resources they need to succeed.

No one should be denied a home because of who they are, and we must do everything in our power to prevent housing discrimination from occurring. The National Fair Housing Alliance asks you to stand with us in opposition to this assault on fair housing by signing on to a letter asking the Senate to reject the House’s harmful anti-fair housing amendments in any final spending legislation.

Click here to sign your organization onto the letter.
Click here to view the letter to the Senate.
Click here to see a one-page fact sheet explaining how the House’s amendments are harmful to fair housing.
July 8, 2015
 
National Fair Housing Alliance Applauds Release of Key Fair Housing Rule

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulation Will Empower Local Jurisdictions to
Identify and Remove Barriers to Fair Housing

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced the release of a fair housing regulation aimed at promoting healthy, prosperous, stable communities. The rule will help jurisdictions that accept federal funds comply with the existing mandate to “affirmatively further fair housing,” a key provision of the Fair Housing Act designed to encourage communities to use their funds to expand equal housing opportunities.

Along with this Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, HUD will provide local policymakers with better data on housing, demographics and other local conditions as well as the tools to create locally-appropriate solutions to tackle persistent barriers to fair housing. This rule will help communities make strategic use of the resources available to them to expand housing choices for people with disabilities, families with children and other under-served groups.

Read the full press statement here.
Read the new AFFH rule here.

Coverage of the rule in the media:
June 25, 2015
 
National Fair Housing Alliance Applauds Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold Key Fair Housing Protection

Decision Keeps Disparate Impact in Place to Guard against Discrimination

WASHINGTON, DC –Today the US Supreme Court gave the civil rights community a resounding victory in the long-awaited decision on Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. The Court held “that disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act upon considering its results-oriented language, the Court’s interpretation of similar language in Title VII and the ADEA, Congress’ ratification of 2015-06-25 Supreme Court ruling
disparate-impact claims in 1988 against the backdrop of the unanimous view of nine Courts of Appeals, and the statutory purpose.” The 5-4 ruling confirms the continuing importance of disparate impact as a tool for addressing housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and reaffirms 45 years of legal precedent, including 11 appellate court rulings. Today’s decision also strengthens the bipartisan commitment made in 1968, and again in 1988, to ensure that Americans are protected from housing discrimination. NFHA will continue to work with its partners in the civil rights, housing, lending and insurance industries to advance housing opportunities for everyone.

Read NFHA’s statement here.

Read the Supreme Court’s decision here.
June 10, 2015
 
National Fair Housing Alliance Condemns House's Multiple Assaults on Fair Housing

Funding Bill Attacks Local and National Efforts to Fight Discrimination

WASHINGTON, DC –The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved a funding bill late Tuesday that will prohibit local fair housing agencies and HUD from effectively enforcing the Fair Housing Act on multiple fronts . Lawmakers approved language that eliminates federal grant funding to local nonprofit fair housing centers making it easier for banks, landlords, and other housing providers to discriminate with impunity. The bill also included language blocking HUD’s nearly final Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, and its disparate impact rule, both of which are important tools to stop illegal housing discrimination and promote safe and stable communities.

"This bill attempts to undermine all of our efforts to achieve justice for victims of discrimination and ensure that every neighborhood receives what it needs to thrive at a time when most Americans feel strongly that civil rights laws are critically important for our society", said Shanna Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. The AFFH rule, which is now being finalized by HUD, will help jurisdictions that willingly accept federal funds comply with their long-standing obligation to promote strong neighborhoods, and work to reverse entrenched patterns of residential segregation and the structural inequalities that they produce.

Read the full press statement here.
June 8, 2015
 
Civil Rights Coalition Sends Letter to House of Representatives Opposing Anti-Fair Housing Amendment

Rep. Scott Garrett's Amendment to H.R. 2577 Would Prevent HUD From Using Disparate Impact to Stop Discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, NFHA and 57 civil rights, housing and community development, and other organizations sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives opposing an amendment introduced by Representative Scott Garrett (NJ-05) that would undermine our ability to ensure that all families are treated fairly in their search for a place to live. The amendment to H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016, would prevent HUD from using funds to implement, administer, or enforce the disparate impact standard in the context of housing.

The Fair Housing Act has a framework for rooting out plainly intentional discriminatory acts as well as unnecessary policies or practices that are seemingly “neutral” but that have discriminatory outcomes based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, or disability status. HUD’s disparate impact rule helps challenge unnecessary policies and practices that have discriminatory outcomes.

Read the full sign on letter here.
June 4, 2015
 
Rep. Keith Ellison Fights Attacks on Fair Housing on the floor of the House

Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota took to the floor today to defend HUD's forthcoming Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule against an amendment intended to block its implementation.

May 13, 2015
 
Mortgage Giant Fannie Mae Accused of Racial Discrimination in 34 U.S. Metro Areas

NFHA and 19 Civil Rights Groups File HUD Complaint Over Neglected Foreclosures

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 19 local fair housing organizations announced the filing with HUD of a housing discrimination complaint against Fannie Mae, one of the largest owners of foreclosed homes in the United States. The civil rights groups allege that Fannie Mae maintains and markets its foreclosures (also known as real estate owned or “REO” properties) in White neighborhoods consistently better than in middle- and working-class African American and Latino neighborhoods, a practice that violates the federal Fair Housing Act. The complaint is the result of a five-year investigation.

“Fannie Mae is wreaking havoc on middle- and working-class communities of color nationwide through a pattern of neglect that is frankly appalling,” said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of NFHA. “Fannie Mae’s failure to take care of its massive foreclosure inventory in African American and Latino neighborhoods further destabilizes the communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, in clear contradiction of its congressional charter, federal fair housing laws, and its obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. This systematic failure also creates health and safety hazards, contributes to blight, and places an unfair burden on neighbors and city governments to clean up the problem.”

The following materials are available to view:
News release
List of cities involved in complaint
HUD Complaint Document (Part 1)
HUD Complaint Document (Part 2)
Complaint Exhibit A (Deficiency Maps)
Complaint Exhibit B (Photos)
PowerPoint Presentation from News Conference
April 30, 2015
 
National Fair Housing Alliance Report Links Fair Housing to Health, Education, Transit, Wealth, and Job Opportunities

View Report Here

WASHINGTON, DC–Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) released its 2015 Fair Housing Trends Report, “Where You Live Matters.” The report features the importance of fair housing in ensuring access to a quality education, transit options, health care, job opportunities and healthy food. The report also discusses the state of fair housing from a national perspective, with chapters exploring the latest data on housing discrimination, highlights of recent enforcement actions, current public policy shaping access to housing opportunity and recommendations for advancing fair housing nationwide.

According to the report, fair housing complaints numbered 27,528 in 2014, consistent with the number of complaints filed in recent years. However, housing discrimination is significantly underreported, mostly because it can be difficult to discern. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the number of reported complaints represents less than one percent of the four million instances of housing discrimination that are estimated to occur each year.

Read the full news release here
Read the 2015 NFHA Trends Report
April 28, 2015
 
Justice Department Settles with L.A. County Sheriff's Department over Fair Housing and Civil Rights Violations

Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a landmark settlement agreement with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department following an investigation that found rampant civil rights violations, including a pattern of intimidation and harassment against African-Americans who held Section 8 housing choice vouchers. The investigation found that goal of this pattern of discrimination was to move voucher holders off the Section 8 program and pressure them to leave the Antelope Valley region of northern Los Angeles County, which violates the Fair Housing Act.

Read the full DOJ press release here
 


To see older new items, visit our older news page.
 
 
 
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Don’t Miss Our 2016 National Conference
Register today for our 2016 National Conference, “It Starts With Home: Fair Housing for an Equitable Society,” to be held June 26–28, 2016, in Washington, DC.

Preceded by NFHA’s Annual Meeting on June 25 and member-only roundtables on the morning of June 26, the conference will feature keynote addresses by Janet Marguía, President of the National Council of La Raza, and by Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

In addition, the conference features informative plenary sessions and workshops. On June 28 the conference will be followed by a public policy briefing and Capitol Hill visits.

View the conference announcement (PDF) to see the entire agenda. To register, download our registration form

NFHA is proud to partner this year with the World Institute on Disability, who will be assisting conference participants with disabilities by providing services including a concierge desk, closed captioning for plenary sessions, and transportation to Capitol Hill.
 
Insurance Discrimination Against Housing Choice Voucher Program Participants Harms the District’s Most Vulnerable Households
DC outline map with DC flag NFHA has become aware of insurance coverage issues facing some landlords who rent to tenants who use housing choice vouchers, or “Section 8.” Specifically, some insurance companies refuse to provide property and liability coverage for multi-family properties where tenants with housing choice vouchers reside. This is housing discrimination.

Insurance companies are prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act from engaging in practices that have a discriminatory impact on African Americans and other protected groups. In addition, the District of Columbia’s civil rights laws prohibit insurance companies from considering lawful source of income, such as housing choice vouchers. This is not just a matter of economic justice and income inequality; it is a matter of racial discrimination and bias against the District’s most vulnerable households and the landlords who help house low- and moderate-income families in our community.

For more information about these discriminatory insurance practices in the District, and to learn about your fair housing rights, please contact NFHA at 202‑898‑1661 and ask for Yvonne.
 
 
 
Fair Housing Videos
for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Fair Housing Alliance, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is pleased to announce the creation of 12 videos in American Sign Language (ASL) with English captioning. These videos provide critical legal and practical information in a format accessible to persons who are Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing. The videos were produced by Disability independence Group, NFHA and Sweetwater Media. To view the videos please click here.
 
 

 
Tell the CFPB Your Story
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a new mortgage complaint system feature to assist distressed borrowers. The Bureau is offering borrowers the chance to explain in detailed narrative their specific mortgage issues.

To file a complaint with CFPB, please click here



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