Family battles homeowners association over fence for son with Asperger's syndrome

June 04, 2015
A local family is in a battle with their homeowners association over a fence for their son, who has Asperger's syndrome.
     "He has a very real disability that you cannot see and he can't have the one thing he really needs," Kristin Seekings said to Local 6 News with tears in her eyes.
     "We selected a home that would be safe for him, that would have interior components that were safe for him, that we could provide exterior safety for him and we're being denied that and it's not OK," she said.
     The Esprit subdivision in St. Cloud does allow vinyl fences, in fact they're all over the neighborhood. However, the Seekings home backs up to a conservation area. The HOA will only allow a metal picketed fence, which the Seekings said is not safe.

Tentative settlement reached in discrimination case

May 28, 2015
An attorney representing three former residents of Four Seasons Estates Mobile Home Park in a housing discrimination case said Wednesday that the issue has tentatively been settled — but declined to provide details.
     In the case filed in federal court last year, authorities alleged systematic attempts by the mobile home park to keep African-Americans from living there.
     The plaintiffs’ attorney, Thomas Kennedy III of Alton, declined additional comment in an e-mail to the Effingham Daily News. A settlement conference had lasted well into Tuesday evening, he noted.

Supreme Court soon will rule on 13 important cases

May 28, 2015
he Supreme Court is heading into the final month of its annual term.
     In a potentially historic ruling, the court will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide, culminating a two-decade legal and political fight for marriage equality.
     Another much-anticipated decision will be whether the Obama administration may continue to subsidize health insurance for low- and middle-income people who buy coverage in the 36 states that failed to establish an official insurance exchange of their own and instead use a federally run version.
     If the court rules against the Obama administration, about 8.6 million people could lose their subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
     Between now and late June, the court will hand down more than two dozen decisions on matters such as politics, civil rights, free speech and air pollution. Several of these cases have been pending for months, suggesting the justices have been sharply split.

HUD & Associated Bank reach historic $200 million settlement of 'REDLINING' claim

May 26, 2015
he U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement with Associated Bank, N.A. (Associated) to resolve a disparate treatment redlining case, one of the largest redlining complaints brought by the federal government against a mortgage lender. At approximately $200 million, it is the largest settlement of this kind HUD has ever reached.
     The settlement stems from a HUD Secretary-initiated complaint alleging that from 2008-2010, the Wisconsin-based bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices regarding the denial of mortgage loans to African-American and Hispanic applicants and the provision of loan services in neighborhoods with significant African-American or Hispanic populations. Read the agreement here.
     "This settlement sends a strong message that HUD does not tolerate practices that unfairly restrict an equal and open housing market," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "Discriminatory lending practices have too often cut off too many credit-worthy families from the opportunities they need to thrive. This agreement will ensure that more Americans can fulfill their hopes and aspirations."

Tennessee home owners association settles disability discrimination lawsuit for $156,000

May 26, 2015
The Chestnut Bend Home Owners Association (CBHOA) in Franklin, Tenn., has settled a federal lawsuit filed against it in early 2012 for $156,000.
     The Plaintiffs, Charles and Melanie Hollis and their youngest two children, both of whom have Down Syndrome, filed the suit on Feb. 2, 2012, with Larry Crain of Crain, Schuette & Associates, a Brentwood law firm, and Tracey McCartney, Executive Director of the Tennessee Fair Housing Council, representing them. Meagan Dolleris, the Council’s staff attorney, also assisted in the litigation.
     The suit alleged that, throughout most of 2011, the CBHOA’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC) refused to allow the Hollis family to create a sun room to be used as a therapeutic area for the young children to receive physical therapy and to play in a safe environment, either because they disagreed with the family’s design choices or deemed the applications incomplete. Because of the manifestations of the children’s disabilities, the Hollises needed the sun room to house therapy equipment for stimulation and development.

HUD and Virginia landlord settle allegations of discrimination against tenants with disabilities

May 26, 2015
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today an agreement with Roanoke, Virginia-based Retirement Unlimited, Inc. resolving allegations of discrimination against residents with disabilities in two of the company’s rental properties. The settlement requires Retirement Unlimited to pay $169,500 in damages. Read HUD’s agreement with Retirement Unlimited.
     The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. This includes requiring persons with disabilities to pay additional security deposits or to buy liability insurance because they use motorized wheelchairs.
     The case came to HUD’s attention when two residents and Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), a non-profit fair housing organization based in Richmond, Virginia, filed complaints alleging that Retirement Unlimited required residents who use motorized wheelchairs or scooters to pay a $1,500 security deposit, acquire a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance, and sign an agreement stating that approval of the motorized wheelchairs could be withdrawn if payments to maintain the required insurance policies were not made.

Wall Street Could Win Big If SCOTUS Guts Fair Housing Act

May 22, 2015
If the state of Texas prevails in a civil rights case about to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, landlords and developers will have an easier time defending themselves in housing discrimination lawsuits.
     But the biggest beneficiary of a win for Texas could well be Wall Street.
     The case alleges that the way Texas allocates low-income housing credits violates the 1968 Fair Housing Act, an issue with little direct connection to banking. But trade groups representing banks and other financial services companies hope that the high court will set a legal precedent in its ruling that could also be used to defend against lending discrimination lawsuits.

Hud takes sec 8 voucher leaving us homeless for no reason whats fair about that

May 19, 2015
Hud Housing Authority of Clackamas County refuses to give sec 8 voucher after they say voucher expired same day family was to move out not evicted but itemidated cohorsed and forced out of there apt. For no reason except tenant choose to exercise her rights to stop in her unit when her lease clearly states she can CSM Corporation and River green apt. sent her a letter asking her if she would smoke outside because tenants upstairs could smell smoke coming though the walls less then 30 days after tenant exercise her rights according to her lease got a nonrewal for no reason was forced out four months later not evicted but forced out I feel an investigation should be conducted with hacc and csm corp for discrimination csm said come to them so i did all i wanted was a reason why my lease was not being renewed manager soon was gone so i tried asst manager she to was soon gone they illegally entered my garage 3 times they forced me out of my apt locked me out of my garage and have posted 2 abandond priperty notices on my garage all in 19 days with hacc backing them 100 percent making my vouchrr expirer the same day i was told by csm i had to vacate the apt something is not right they are hiding something i was never late on my rent or violated my lease but i am a women who wanted an answer and a women who was standing up for her right to smoke in her apt according to her lease i feel brian last name will be given tio investigators doesnt not like women who stand up for themselves or there rights my personal oppoion im on the street because i choose yo stand up for mine and why did both msnager and asst manager no longer work at river greens time to investigate .. ...i was discriminated against because i sm a women not only a woman but a woman of domestic voilence and a women on sec 8 who recently lost her job i had no problem for over 3years at rivergreens until i lost my job then they tried takin my rights away more to the story just call me illl tell all

Chicago-area mobile home park faces Fair Housing Act lawsuit

May 18, 2015
The federal government is suing a Crown Point, Ill., mobile home park, claiming the park refuses to rent any of its homes to families with children.
     The lawsuit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, lists Gentle Manor Estates, at 1305 E. North St., and John Townsend, who is listed with the state as the owner, as defendants.
     Townsend could not be reached for comment.

Minneapolis and St. Paul settle federal housing complaints, agree to further review

May 17, 2015
A year after neighborhood groups and affordable housing advocates filed federal complaints saying Minneapolis and St. Paul contributed to racial and ethnic segregation, community members said they are cautiously optimistic that change is on the way.
     The complaints by the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), lodged with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the Twin Cities concentrated affordable housing in “low-opportunity, high-poverty communities” — allegations the cities deny.
     But instead of having HUD investigate the claims, the cities opted to negotiate voluntary compliance agreements. The agreements require that they include more community members as they analyze and address regional affordable housing issues.


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