Spring 2021 newsletter now available
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The latest edition of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center’s newsletter is now available to download.
The newsletter has information about Fair Housing Month, rights for people with a criminal history, and news from the Miami Valley Fair Housing Collaborative.
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Miami Valley Fair Housing Center joins national alliance praising
Biden’s move to reinstate key Fair Housing
April 13, 2021 — The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center joined the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and other civil rights organizations from across the country in praising President Biden’s recent moves to reinstate key fair housing regulations
that advocates say are essential to ensuring racial equity.
“By taking steps to reinstate the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and the 2013 Disparate Impact rule, President Biden is following through with his early commitment to make racial equity and fair housing advancement a cornerstone of his administration’s policy,” said Lisa Rice, President/CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance.
“When Congress passed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, it intended for HUD to take active steps to end housing discrimination, dismantle housing segregation, and tackle systemic racism to expand access to opportunity for everyone. However, an actual framework for fully enforcing these mandates wasn’t put into place until 2015, finally giving local jurisdictions and community stakeholders the process and data needed to identify and redress local barriers to fair housing. NFHA was devastated when the Trump administration gutted this vital framework in 2020 but is very encouraged by President Biden’s move to restore it.”
“Similarly in 2020, the Trump administration finalized its harmful reversal of the 2013 Disparate Impact rule, making it almost impossible for victims of discrimination to effectively fight against systemic racism and discriminatory policies by housing providers, financial institutions, and insurance companies. Today, NFHA is hopeful because the Biden administration has signaled that it will also reinstate this vital rule for addressing systemic discrimination in housing.
“The actions of the Trump administration toward dismantling civil rights enforcement were disgusting and shameful and they need to be swept into the dustbin of history, for the well-being of our country,” said Jim McCarthy, President/CEO of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center.
While news of the Biden administration’s action is promising, fair housing practitioners assert that the restoration of the two regulations is the least of what needs to be done to address the systemic housing discrimination and segregation that exists in the United States. Inequality drives housing segregation this country. People of color are fated into under-resourced communities that struggle to achieve basic health, safety, educational, and economic opportunities.
“NFHA is glad that the Biden administration acknowledges these structural barriers to housing and racial equity. NFHA looks forward to working closely with the White House, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and other leadership within the administration to ensure that racial equity and fair housing remain central to the administration’s plans as it tackles COVID-19 economic recovery, infrastructure, and other key issues. NFHA also looks forward to working with Congress to ensure HUD is properly staffed and provided resources to effectively implement and enforce the reinstated AFFH and Disparate Impact rules,” Lisa Rice concluded.
HUD releases memo implementing Biden executive order on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity
Order based on Supreme Court ruling related to civil rights protections based on sex
February 11, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a memo on the implementation of President Biden’s Executive Order 13988 directing that all federal agencies extend the enforcement of all federal statutes that prohibit sex discrimination to also combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD’s memo directs HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The President’s executive order is based on the Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v Clayton County which found that prohibitions in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against employment discrimination based on sex extend to and include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity Jeanine M. Worden pledged that HUD will “fully engage our fair housing enforcement, advocacy, and public education effords across the housing market to prevent and combat discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released a statement in favor of HUD’s memo. “No one should be excluded from housing based on who they are or who they love,” said Senator Brown. “I applaud the Biden Administration for taking steps to ensure that HUD is finally carrying out the Bostock ruling’s confirmation that civil rights protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity. As Chairman of the Senate Banking and Housing Committee, I will work with the Administration and HUD to fully enforce our nation’s fair housing laws.”
MVFHC and woman living with disabilities file lawsuit against Audubon Crossing
January 14, 2021 — The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) and Latisha Martin have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the Audubon Crossing Apartments and Woda Cooper Companies engaged in discrimination in violation of federal law.
Ms. Martin has been a resident of Audubon Crossing since April 2019. She uses a power wheelchair for mobility and has limited use of her limbs. Starting in March 1, 2019, Ms. Martin submitted and re‑submitted requests for reasonable accommodation and/or modification but faced repeated denials from Woda Cooper. Installation of a door opener was finally completed in July 2020.
MVFHC assisted Ms. Martin in filing an administration complaint with the City of Dayton’s Human Relations Council (HRC), a HUD-funded Fair Housing Assistance Program. HRC found probably cause that disability discrimination had occurred against Ms. Martin and that MVFHC had diverted resources and had its mission to eliminate housing discrimination frustrated by Woda Cooper’s actions.
The lawsuit asserts that Ms. Martin and MVFHC both merit compensatory damages as well as punitive damages. For more information, read the complete news release.
Previous news items are available here.