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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

Housing and community news: Mar 29, 2019

Posted by NMA on Mar 29, 2019 12:09:39 PM

What we're reading now: the latest housing reports and analysis

National Housing Law Project: President directs Treasury and HUD to develop housing finance reform plans

The president issued a memorandum on March 27, which ordered "federal agencies to develop proposals for reforming various aspects of the housing finance system."

The Treasury, in particular, was directed to create a plan for removing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from conservatorship. In the memorandum, HUD was encouraged to make changes to the housing finance programs that are supported by the Federal Housing Administration (FAH) and Ginnie Mae.

Both the Treasury and HUD will submit their plans to the White House at their earliest convenience.

 

In other news:

Multi-Housing News Online: POAH’s Aaron Gornstein on affordable housing

  • Multi-Housing News sat down with Aaron Gornstein, an industry leader and president/ CEO of Preservation of Affordable Housing, to talk about the poignant affordable housing issue happening in America.

Saporta Report: Atlanta’s home prices are soaring. Can a new model keep some affordable forever?

  • The Saporta Report dives into Atlanta's housing past and looks at a new model to see how the plan might fit into Atlanta's current affordable housing climate and the impact it could have.

Next City: Small cities feel the clock ticking on Opportunity Zones

  • Next City looks at Opportunity Zones, which is a new federal tax incentive that encourages investment in low-income census tracts, and how it could be used for residents and small business in small cities.

City of Minneapolis: City Council approves Renter-First Housing Policy prioritizing renter protections

  • Minneapolis's City Council approved a Renter-First Housing Policy. The policy is to provide protection and stability to the city's renters.

 

Urban Institute: Dismantling the harmful, false narrative that homelessness is a choice

  • The Urban Institute talked with Mental Health Center of Denver's supportive housing provider Takisha Keesee about common misconceptions around people experiencing homelessness

 

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Topics: Industry News

Housing and community news: Mar 16-22, 2019

Posted by NMA on Mar 23, 2019 9:20:00 AM

What we're reading now: the latest housing reports and analysis

HUD: HUD approves plan to support southern Georgia counties in their recovery from 2017 disasters

In a press release, HUD announced it had approved the State of Georgia's disaster action plan and will award the state $38 million in federal recovery funds through HUD's Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery Program.

This fund will be used to support the state's recovery from January 2017's deadly tornadoes as well as damages from Hurricane Irma, which include seriously damaged housing, businesses, and infrastructure.


In other news:

KQED: Forget YIMBY vs. NIMBY. Could PHIMBYs solve the housing crisis?

  • The acronyms YIMBY (Yes in My Backyard) and NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) rose from the housing crisis and the battle over new developments. But now there is a new acronym: PHIMBY (Public Housing in My Backyard) whose supporters believe municipally-run affordable housing is the best way to solve the housing crisis.

Multi-Housing News Online: Affirmed Housing Breaks Ground on LA Supportive Housing

  • Work on Aria, a 57-unit community dedicated to formerly homeless individuals, has now begun. This five-story structure, located in Los Angeles' Westlake South submarket, will include studios and one-bedroom apartments with more than 1,000 square feet of common space.

Multi-Housing News Online: Boston affordable housing project to add 135 units

  • The third phase of a redevelopment project in Boston has broken ground. The project will take The Anne M. Lynch Homes at Old Colony, one of the oldest federal public housing properties in America, and convert it into a 135 affordable unit housing.

NACo: Smarter Counties workshop uses ‘Design Thinking’

  • In a two-part Smarter Counties workshop at the 2019 NACo Legislative Conference, participants learned how to use design thinking to solve problems from a person first approach.

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Topics: Industry News

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