Announcement re: Teleworking and Office Closure
Out of concern for public health and safety as well as careful consideration of the recently announced national emergency in response to the COVID19 pandemic, we have made the decision to close our offices to the public while maintaining business operations. As of Monday, March 16, 2020 our office will be closed until further notice. However, all FHCWM staff will be working remotely and will be fully accessible via:
• Phone: 616-451-2980 (we will be checking voicemails throughout the day and will return your phone call within 2 business days)
• Email (or check our staff listing to reach for specific staff members)
Please continue to visit our website and follow us on Facebook to keep apprised of recent developments and news about FHCWM and fair housing issues.
Please stay safe and healthy.
2020 Fair Housing Awards
The FHCWM is accepting nominations for an individual and/or organizations that have made significant contributions to furthering fair housing in west Michigan! Download this fillable nomination form for the 2020 Fair Housing Award, which includes the criteria for determining the recipients. A full history is available here. To be considered, nomination forms must be returned by Friday, April 3, 2020.
HUD Issues Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act relating to Assistance Animals
According to HUD, this "new Assistance Animal Notice will help housing providers in this process by offering a step-by-step set of best practices for complying with the Act when assessing accommodation requests involving animals and information that a person may need to provide about his or her disability-related need for the requested accommodation." HUD further states that new Notice should be used for analyzing future requests for reasonable accommodations, not for accommodations that have already been granted. Read the Notice and HUD's Fact Sheet.
New Outreach & Resources for Sexual Harassment in Housing
The FHCWM is pleased to offer a fact sheet (en Español) on Sexual Harassment and Fair Housing, as well as tear off posters to raise awareness of this issue. You can download these materials in English and Spanish on our publications page. They are designed to be displayed in places where people can confidentially access our contact information. Please contact us if you would like to recieve hard copies of any of these materials.
City of Grand Rapids expands Fair Housing Protections
The City of Grand Rapids has expanded Fair Housing protections available to City residents through the passage of a revised human rights ordinance on August 27, 2019. It prohibits discrimination in housing, among other areas, based on actual or perceived color, race, religion or creed, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genotype, age, marital status, medical condition, disability, height, weight, or source of lawful income. The ordinance took effect on December 1, 2019. Read the City's press release, the proposed ordinance, and local coverage of the August 27th decision.
New Occupancy Standard Tools Available
The FHCWM is pleased to now offer a complementary guidebook and a Square Footage Calculator Tool to assist in determining reasonable occupancy limits based on local restrictions. These resources serve to assist condominium associations, landlords, property owners and managers, and municipalities enforcing occupancy codes in determining how to set occupancy limitations with consideration of fair housing laws. While the guidebook is geared towards Kent County, the resources and tools provide helpful best practice information regardless of geography. Learn more and download these tools here.