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Annie Stevenson

With more than three decades of experience in welfare and public housing, Annie Stevenson shares her expertise in many ways at NMA, serving as a trainer to thousands of housing authority staff every year; as a technical researcher who analyzes and deciphers new HUD regulations; and as a technical writer, contributing to NMA Master Books, seminars, and model policies. Annie is also the editor of NMA's daily PIH Alert.

Recent Posts

HUD settles familial status discrimination suit against CA housing providers

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Apr 3, 2019 8:49:00 AM

HUD-settles-CA-suit

In a press release posted Thursday March 28, HUD announced that it has settled a familial status discrimination complaint against the owners and managers of a California rental property.

The housing providers allegedly violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent a unit to a couple because they have three children. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to families with children.

The case came to HUD’s attention when a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency filed a complaint on behalf of the couple, alleging that the family was denied the opportunity to rent a two-bedroom unit because they have children.

Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, the owners and manager will pay $10,000 to the couple and $5,000 to the fair housing agency. In addition, the agreement requires that the management company revise its policies and that its employees attend annual fair housing training for the next three years.

 

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Topics: fair housing, Industry News

REAC previews new inspection protocol, issues inspector notice on carbon monoxide detectors

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Apr 2, 2019 11:17:33 AM

HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) has established a new website with information about planned changes to its physical housing inspection model. The new model, National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE), is intended to improve upon the current Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) protocol by prioritizing health, safety, and functional defects.

As a first step in revising inspection requirements, HUD published Notice PIH 2019-02/H 2019-04 on February 22. The notice reduced the advance notification time for REAC inspections to 14 days. HUD then began a nationwide series of listening sessions on the new inspection model.

Resources available on the NSPIRE website include a description of the NSPIRE concept and learning materials from the listening sessions held in Philadelphia and Fort Worth.

A two-year, voluntary demonstration of the NSPIRE protocol is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of fiscal year 2019. REAC will publish a notice on the demonstration at a later date. Recommendations on the new model and demonstration may be submitted to NSPIRE@hud.gov.

On March 25, HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) issued Inspector Notice 2019-01 establishing guidance for inspectors on performing a data collection process to determine the prevalence of carbon monoxide detectors at properties subject to inspection under the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) protocol.

The notice does not require the presence of carbon monoxide detectors, nor does the absence of such detectors affect a property’s UPCS score—noting the presence or absence of such detectors is for data collection purposes only. The specific procedures required for inspectors to collect data can be found on page 2 of the notice. As the notice explains, this data collection is part of the department’s efforts to support decent, safe, and sanitary housing that is in good repair, and REAC’s commitment to continuous improvement of physical inspection standards.

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Topics: indoor air quality, inspections, PIH notices, UPCS, Industry News, NSPIRE

HUD charges Facebook with housing discrimination

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Apr 2, 2019 8:33:55 AM

HUD Charges Facebook

In a press release posted Thursday March 28, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it has filed a charge of housing discrimination against Facebook.

The charge alleges that the policies and practices of Facebook violate the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination.

Today’s announcement follows HUD’s filing of a Secretary-initiated complaint in August 2018. HUD alleges that Facebook unlawfully discriminates based on race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex, and disability by restricting who can view housing-related ads on Facebook’s platforms and across the internet. Further, HUD claims Facebook mines extensive data about its users and then uses those data to determine which of its users view housing-related ads based, in part, on these protected characteristics.

According to HUD’s charge, Facebook enabled advertisers to exclude people whom Facebook classified as parents, non-American-born, non-Christian, interested in accessibility, interested in Hispanic culture, or a wide variety of other interests that closely align with the Fair Housing Act’s protected classes.

HUD is also charging that Facebook enabled advertisers to exclude people based upon their neighborhood by drawing a red line around those neighborhoods on a map. Facebook also allegedly gave advertisers the option of showing ads only to men or only to women.

“Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”

 

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Topics: fair housing, Industry News

HUD approves disaster recovery plans for Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Texas

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Mar 13, 2019 2:21:09 PM

Last week the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it has approved the latest disaster recovery action plans for Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Both plans include tight fiscal controls.

In the first press release, HUD announced approval of the latest disaster action recovery plan to help Florida continue to rebuild from Hurricane Irma. The plan will invest an additional $158 million through the Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG–DR) program to address lingering unmet needs in impacted Florida counties, including seriously damaged housing, businesses and infrastructure.

The second press release announces that HUD has also approved an amended disaster action recovery plan for the U.S. Virgin Islands. An additional $779 million in CDBG-DR funds will be invested for continued recovery efforts following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Each press release includes the following statement:

HUD requires that these recovery dollars be targeted to local communities that experienced the greatest impact and that all disaster relief funds will be spent in a manner that helps disaster victims. As a result, HUD will impose strict conditions and financial controls on the use of these funds.

HUD also recently announced that is has approved Puerto Rico’s latest disaster recovery action plan to help the island continue to rebuild from Hurricanes Maria and Irma, as well as an additional $652 million to support Texas’ recovery from Hurricane Harvey. HUD supports recovery from disasters such as Hurricane Harvey through its CDBG–DR program, which requires grantees to develop recovery plans with thought and input from local residents. Texas’ latest recovery plan adds to the $5 billion in HUD-funded recovery programs for the state that HUD approved last June and focuses mainly on restoring damaged and destroyed homes, businesses, and infrastructure.

Learn more about preparing for a disaster

Topics: CDBG-DR, Industry News, disaster recovery

HUD announces disaster recovery waivers

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Jan 10, 2019 9:31:46 AM

Today in the Federal Register, HUD published a notice waiving timing requirements for disaster recovery action plans and action plan amendments. The waivers for grants under the Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG–DR) program are necessary due to the government shutdown “and the resultant inability to satisfactorily complete the review and approval process consistent with (HUD’s) customary timeline.”

As explained in the notice, CDBG-DR grantees are required to submit action plans to HUD describing the intended use of recovery funds. HUD approval is also required for significant amendments to the action plans. HUD is waiving the required 45- to 60-day time limits for review and approval of the plans.

HUD will review the pending Action Plan Amendments and Action Plans and provide affected grantees with a decision within a time period which will be announced by HUD after enactment of funding for the Department’s normal operations.
Failure to extend the review period could lead to deemed approvals upon expiration of the customary 60-day review period, an outcome that would be inconsistent with both HUD’s oversight responsibilities and the purposes of the CDBG–DR funding or, alternatively, disapproval. Grantees with pending submissions are advised that the extension of HUD’s review period and resulting delays should not be considered a commentary on the submissions but is a recognition of the current circumstances.

Learn more about preparing for a disaster

Topics: government shutdown, CDBG-DR, disaster recovery

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