Lexington, KY

Lexington's handling of homeless shelter to be investigated by U.S. Justice Department

March 23, 2015
An investigation into whether Lexington violated federal fair housing laws when the city revoked a permit for a homeless shelter has been turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice, according to documents provided to the Herald-Leader.
     Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent a letter to the city and those who filed the complaint that the case — under HUD investigation for two years — has been turned over to the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.
     The letter, dated March 10, doesn't say why the complaint has been referred to the Department of Justice. It only says HUD is authorized to refer any matter involving the legality of "any zoning or land use ordinance" to that agency for review. The letter is signed by Carlos Osegueda, the HUD regional director of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

Lexington neighborhood association sued in playhouse dispute

December 27, 2014
Federal officials are accusing a Kentucky neighborhood association of discriminating and retaliating against a family that built a therapeutic playhouse for their son who has cerebral palsy.
     The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Justice Department sued the Andover Forest Homeowners Association in Lexington and EMG Management Services, which is hired by the homeowners association to manage the neighborhood.

Struggle for justice still unfinished 50 years after Civil Rights Act

July 06, 2014
The Root
     Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law.
     The comprehensive, landmark legislation outlawed, among many other things, racial segregation in public accommodations. Jim Crow, in both its more overt Southern and subtler Northern manifestations, was officially proscribed, although racial apartheid would continue in American schools, neighborhoods and the workplace until this day.
     Undoubtedly, Johnson and Congress deserve credit for passing this legislation, a feat made all the more remarkable when judged alongside Washington's current political dysfunction. But the Civil Rights Act would not have been enacted without a grass-roots movement that placed extraordinary pressure on politicians and civic institutions.
     Civil rights legislation represented the culmination of thousands of strategic marches, demonstrations and protests aimed squarely toward advancing the cause of racial and economic justice.

Events to mark National Affordable Homeownership month

June 03, 2014
In recognition of National Affordable Homeownership Month, the Lexington Housing Community Development Corp. will sponsor several activities.
     Recognition began with a proclamation from the City of Lexington naming June as Affordable Homeownership Month. This year's theme is "Housing for All." Antionette Kerr, executive director of Lexington Housing CDC, said the agency will collaborate on a series of workshops designed to address some of the housing inequities in Davidson County.
     "Several of the events are a direct result of concerns expressed in The UNC Center for Civil Rights study," Kerr said. "People across the state have asked how we are responding as a fair housing agency located in an area targeted by the study. We are responding by providing education and resources for families seeking safe and affordable housing."

Housing advocates say Lexington's 2013 ordinance regulating day shelters is discriminatory

May 07, 2014
Housing advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union are raising questions over a 2013 city ordinance regulating day shelters for the homeless that they claim is discriminatory against the poor and could run afoul of federal housing laws.
     Bill Sharp, staff attorney for the ACLU of Kentucky, said that his organization is looking at the ordinance that was passed in October 2013. The ordinance requires a special permit for facilities operating during daylight hours if they serve people with "limited financial resources, including people who are homeless."

'Rent to Me' campaign to help refugees and victims of domestic violence

January 16, 2014
As a property owner, would you rent to someone who has a history of missing rent payments, maybe even a couple of evictions, and who moves a lot? Probably not.
     But what if you looked deeper and discovered that the person is a victim of domestic violence who has been forced to move out of harm's way with little or no resources?
     Or, as a property owner, would you rent to a family with no background that can be checked, a family with no Social Security numbers, and who might not even be in the country yet? Could you relax rules that other tenants adhere to just so an immigrant family can have a safe place to live?
     Those are a couple of the scenarios the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission is hoping property managers and landlords will think about when presented with tenants who don't meet their policies.

Federal investigation stems from the city revoking homeless shelter's permit

October 11, 2013
Federal housing officials are investigating the city for possible fair housing violations after it revoked a permit for a homeless shelter on Winchester Road in 2012.
     The Lexington Fair Housing Council, a nonprofit group, filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD in September 2012 after a conditional use permit for the Community Inn on Winchester Road was revoked by the Board of Adjustments.
     According to documents provided to the Herald-Leader, federal HUD investigators have accepted the complaint and opened an investigation that is ongoing. If the city is found guilty of violating federal fair housing laws or if the complaint is not settled, it might have to pay damages. The city could also be at risk for losing its federal housing funds, although that's rare, housing advocates say.

Tenant wins $14,000 in service-animal dispute with Scott housing agency

September 27, 2012
The Georgetown Housing Authority has paid a tenant $14,000 after it refused to accommodate her need for a service animal, according to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
     The commission found probable cause that the housing agency discriminated against Johnna French in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Fair Housing Act, commission officials said in a news release this week. French made the allegations in February 2010.

Kentucky commission on human rights accepts 3 settlement agreements

April 22, 2012
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights last week publicly accepted three conciliation agreements in fair housing cases, including one in Madison County.
     The conciliation agreements were negotiated during complaint investigations, the commission said in a prepared statement. The commission is a state agency that enforces state and federal civil rights laws.
     Jonathan and Tiffany Ratliff alleged that Foxglove Management LLC of Richmond discriminated against them by questioning whether Tiffany Ratliff's service dog was a "true" service animal intended to help her with a disability, the commission said. Foxglove Management denied discrimination and said the Ratliffs failed to provide requested documents to verify the dog's status as a service animal.

Lexington Fair Housing Council results in $42,000 conciliation agreement

September 19, 2011
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Board of Commissioners recently ruled on discrimination complaints that included a $42,000 conciliation agreement resulting from a housing discrimination complaint brought by the Lexington Fair Housing Council:
     Complaint Number 1487-H, The Lexington Fair Housing Council versus Burlington Oaks Apartments in Burlington, Ky.: The Lexington Fair Housing Council alleged discrimination based on disability in housing, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The Council claimed it discovered the Burlington Oaks Apartments were inaccessible to people with disabilities in a number of its design elements.
     The apartment company denied any violation of the law. The commission’s investigation of the complaint found there was probable cause to believe discrimination had occurred and issued the probable cause notice to the complainant and respondent. The parties then agreed to conciliate the matter rather than continue litigation. The respondent agreed to pay $7,000 to the Lexington Fair Housing Council and pay $10,000 to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights for attorney fees and the cost of administrative process. The respondent also agreed to correct the design problems and place $25,000 in an account for that purpose, which will be managed by a third party and the complainant. The respondent will report to the commission for law compliance.
     The commission at its August 18 meeting also ruled to accept these additional conciliation agreements:


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