Richmond, VA

HOME settles housing discrimination complaint with Chesterfield firm for $33,000

August 03, 2016
Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Inc. said Wednesday it had settled a discrimination complaint for $33,000 with two Richmond-area companies for alleged housing discrimination against a person who did not speak English.
     Richmond-based HOME filed the complaint against Executives Inc. Realty Group, a real estate brokerage in Chesterfield County, and CBP Properties LLC, a local property owner.
     The complaint alleged that a policy maintained by Executives Inc. requiring that at least one lease signer be able to sufficiently communicate in English constituted discrimination based on national origin.

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.

Judge reinstates housing discrimination case

June 04, 2015
A lawsuit accusing a Richmond developer, a Henrico County contractor and Richmond architect of discriminating against people with disabilities was reinstated this week, after it was dismissed in April in U.S. District Court in Richmond.
     The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the case, leading to the reinstatement.
     The suit involves the Shockoe Valley View Apartments, also known as Cedar Street Apartments, a 151-unit complex going up on Cedar Street in Church Hill. It alleges that the project does not comply with accessibility requirements.
     The suit was reinstated by U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer days after the Justice Department asked the court to reconsider its dismissal of the complaint by the National Fair Housing Alliance and Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Inc., a statewide fair housing advocate.

Bill outlawing housing discrimination fails

January 25, 2015
A senate committee on Monday killed a bill making it illegal for landlords to reject potential tenants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
     Senate Bill 917, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Wexton, D-Leesburg, failed on a 7-7 tie vote in the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee. Six Democrats and one Republican voted for the bill; seven Republicans voted against it.
     Wexton, who sits on the committee, said the bill would have included sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination under the unlawful practices in the Virginia Fair Housing Law.

Richmond apartment developers accused of discrimination against disabled

October 23, 2014
Developers of a new apartment community in Richmond are accused of discriminating against the disabled. A video on the internet appears to be at the center of a federal lawsuit against owners of The Shockoe Valley View Apartments.
     The video shows conditions in and around the building, located off Cedar Street. It has a pretty nice view, but developers are now facing this lawsuit for things like steps with no way for a person in a wheelchair to enter the apartment.
     The complex has now been slapped with a lawsuit from the National Fair Housing Alliance and Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) for alleged discrimination against people with disabilities.
     HOME president Heather Krislip said, “This property was quickly identified as one of the worst cases that we had ever seen.”

'Whites Only' sign prompts housing investigation

July 18, 2011
Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (HOME) conducted an investigation into a "whites only" for rent sign posted in Henrico County, Virginia.
     An image on HOME's website depicts the sign which read, "HOUSE FOR RENT," followed by a phone number to call and the phrase "whites only."
     The "whites only" line is written in a different color (black) than the phone number (green).
     HOME Director Amy Nelson says they took the picture of the sign posted near the intersection of Gayton Road and Cambridge Drive in Henrico's Far West End.

HOME leader fights for fair housing

January 24, 2011
Connie Chamberlin pointed to a pivotal day in her life: "When I was in college, my favorite aunt took me to a march on Washington — to the 'I Have a Dream' speech."
     She recalled how an unexpectedly large crowd of all races came together in unity Aug. 28, 1963, to listen to the legendary speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
     "The whole day was a very powerful statement," she said.
     The experience would set the tone for her work in civil rights and social justice as president and chief executive officer for the past 22 years at Housing Opportunities Made Equal Inc. of Virginia, a housing advocacy group in Richmond.

Fair housing for veterans discussed at Henrico event

April 15, 2010
Fair housing is a right in America, but veterans seem to have a particularly tough time making sure their rights are protected, speakers said yesterday at a program in Henrico County sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
     "Fair housing is a national mandate, the law of the land since 1968," said keynote speaker Bryan Greene, deputy assistant secretary in HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
     "It was the crowning jewel of a series of civil-rights legislation and veterans were at the forefront of the civil-rights movement," Greene said. "A lot of veterans have availed themselves of the benefits of the Fair Housing Act."
     The act gives people the opportunity to live where they choose regardless of race, religion, gender or disability.

Online ads offer free rent in exchange for sex

March 18, 2010
There are numerous complaints against advertisements offering free rent in the Richmond area. They're for women and in most cases the men posting them flat out say they want companionship and sex.
     The ads are on craigslist and have gotten the attention of an advocacy group claiming they discriminate on several accounts including gender and race!
     The Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia has filed 20 complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Housing discrimination still legal in VA?

February 03, 2010
Housing discrimination holdovers from the 1960s remain on the books in Virginia, and there's legislation in the works to change that. Amy Nelson, director of systemic investigations and enforcement for the group Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, says property owners with three or fewer single-family homes are currently exempt from most of the anti-discrimination provisions of Virginia's Fair Housing laws.
     Therefore, she says, it is still technically legal for them to discriminate against potential renters or buyers based on sex, religion, national origin, age, or having children or a disability.
     "Somebody could say, 'I'm not going to rent to you because you have kids,' or 'because you're Hispanic,' or 'because you are white.' They could legally do that, in this exempt type of property."
     

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