HUD offers 9 Million to provide stable housing to low-income victims of domestic violence living with HIV/AIDS

August 24, 2015
To help prevent victims of domestic violence living with HIV/AIDS from falling into homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is making more than $9 million available to state, local governments and non-profits through the VAWA/HOPWA Project Demonstration – a collaborative effort between HUD’s Office of HIVAIDS Housing (OHH) and the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women (OVW). More than half of women living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. do not have access to stable housing and are at higher risk of experiencing domestic violence. Read HUD’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).
     Through this demonstration program, HUD will provide funding for transitional and other temporary rental housing assistance and supportive services to low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. Grantees will be required to partner with local domestic violence and sexual assault service providers for client outreach and engagement and for comprehensive supportive services to ensure client success in the program.
     “Every American deserves to live in a safe and stable environment,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “This funding will help vulnerable populations with HIV/AIDS to break the cycle of domestic violence and get the help they need.”

Ordinances reveal hostility toward homeless

August 19, 2015
One of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s most ambitious goals is to get Los Angeles out of the housing crisis.
     That’s why standing in front of Circa, a $500 million dollar luxury complex whose grandeur prompts comparisons to Times Square, the mayor celebrated a cultural renaissance in the city last month as well as an economic revitalization of downtown Los Angeles.
     However, just a few days later, he was silent about nearby Skid Row activists protesting both delays in the construction of affordable housing projects as well as the recent passage of city ordinances 56.11 and 63.44, which criminalize homeless encampments in the area.

Renters say they've been unfairly evicted

August 18, 2015
At first glance, Green Meadows appears to be a picture-perfect apartment complex.
     The exterior of the homes are clean and well-maintained, the lawns are immaculate and the parking lot and walking paths are spotless. The common areas of the 36-unit affordable-housing complex are quiet and peaceful.
     But simmering beneath the calm is a maelstrom. Residents say their lives have been upended by a discriminatory application of rules that targets single women, many of them poor minorities who receive rent subsidies. About 20 percent of the tenants have had their leases terminated this year or currently face eviction.

Department of veterans affairs issues service animal regulation

August 18, 2015
The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a revised regulation on Aug. 17 that sets in place a national policy for the presence of animals in VA clinics, hospitals and on all VA properties. It defines "service animals" in conformity with existing federal regulations enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act. Only dogs, individually trained to be service animals, are allowed on VA premises.
     Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland meets a guide dog puppy during the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.
     The latest codification of federal regulations about service animals is found in 28 CFR 35.136. Entities covered by these regulations may exclude a service animal for only two reasons; if it is out of control and the animal's handler cannot or will not control the animal, or if the animal is not housebroken.

Mobile home residents file federal lawsuit alleging Richmond is violating Latinos' civil rights

August 18, 2015
“Everybody should have safe housing,” said Phil Storey with Legal Aid.
     Dozens of mobile home park residents sued the city of Richmond on Tuesday over an “illegal and racially discriminatory” policy that they say targets Latinos.
     The 71-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond, asks for unspecified damages and an end to aggressive code enforcement efforts in the city’s nine mobile home parks. Residents say those efforts are intrusive and intimidating.

The startling effects of housing discrimination in Ferguson

August 17, 2015
Ferguson has become a lynchpin of the #BlackLivesMatter movement since Michael Brown's death, but the city's issues run much deeper than just excessive police force.
     Of the U.S. metropolitan areas with large black populations, St. Louis, Missouri is one of the most segregated -- a product of years of explicit governmental policies and individual prejudices, which have played a role in the divide that persists between black and white residents of the area.
     Between 1934 and 1968, redlining by the Federal Housing Administration made it virtually impossible to secure a loan as a black person, the effects of which are still visible in the St. Louis area (and many other neighborhoods across the U.S., for that matter).

Springfield landlord resolves allegations of disability-based housing discrimination

August 05, 2015
A Springfield landlord, property management company, and condominium trust have agreed to attend fair housing training, implement a reasonable accommodation policy, and pay $15,000 to resolve allegations that they failed to timely grant requests for a wheelchair ramp and easier building access for a tenant whose young son is severely disabled, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
     “Tenants with disabilities should be able to use and enjoy their homes to the fullest extent possible,” AG Healey said. “Landlords are required under state law to work closely with tenants with disabilities to ensure that they are provided reasonable housing accommodations in a timely manner. This settlement will implement the policy changes and education needed to improve equal access.”
     According to the assurance of discontinuance, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Michele Zakashansky – individually and as an agent of Sunset Properties, LLC and Pearl Street Condominium Trust – discriminated against the tenant on the basis of her son’s disability by failing to grant the tenant’s request for a wheelchair ramp for over a year. Without a ramp, the tenant was required to carry her son and his wheelchair up and down several stairs and through multiple doors when entering or exiting her apartment building.

Milwaukee man gave up pit bull because apartments forbid breed; he's now suing for racial discrimination

August 04, 2015
A Milwaukie man accuses the owners of his apartment complex of discriminating against him because he owned a pit bull and is African American.
     Lee Davis went apartment hunting in the Portland area last March and discovered that Holland Residential was renting and selling units at Miramonte Lodge, which sits along Kellogg Creek.
     When the 58-year-old Davis mentioned to the general manager of the complex that he owned a 1-year-old pit bull named "Ipo Keikei," he was told the apartments had a "restricted breed list" and that pit bulls were among those restricted animals. So Davis gave his dog up to Clackamas County Animal Control so he could buy the unit, according to a federal lawsuit filed in Portland's U.S. District Court.

City of Austin sues landlord, claims he asked tenant for sexual favor

August 03, 2015
The city of Austin is suing a man, they say, refused service to one of his tenants unless a sexual favor was performed.
     According to the lawsuit, the defendant Laymond Thompson Jr. agreed to rent his property to a female tenant in 2013 but refused to give her a key to the unit and later requested a sexual favor from her when she was late on her rent. When the female tenant refused the sexual favor, Thompson allegedly changed the terms of her late payment, entered her unit without permission and removed her belongings.
     The rental units Thompson oversaw are located at a home in the 10600 block of Brownie Drive.

HUD charges South Dakota property owners with discrimination against resident in wheelchair

August 03, 2015
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged the owners and landlords of an eight-unit apartment complex in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow a resident with disabilities to use a wheelchair in his apartment. HUD’s charge also alleges that the Salem Family Trust and Calvin L. Salem, trustee and manager of the property, refused to return the resident’s security deposit after he was forced to move out of his apartment. Read HUD’s charge.
     The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from making a rental unit unavailable because of disability, discriminating in the terms of a rental because of disability, making statements regarding a rental that indicate discrimination based on disability, or retaliating against anyone for exercising their fair housing rights.
     “Wheelchair users can never feel at home if they aren’t allowed to use the very thing they depend on for mobility,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD remains committed to enforcing the nation’s fair housing laws and creating greater housing opportunities for people with disabilities.”

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