Fair Housing Groups Reach Settlement Expanding Housing Opportunities for Families with Children (September 14, 2020)
The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI), the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan (FHCWM), the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina, and the Lexington Fair Housing Council announce a conciliation agreement with Pierce Education Properties to expand fair housing opportunities for families with children. Pierce Education Properties manages a portfolio of 27 student housing complexes, encompassing approximately 5,715 individual units across 18 states. The agreement will open up access for families with children to over 12,830 rentable bedroom units.
“This agreement recognizes that today’s college student population is made up of people from all age groups and backgrounds. Over one-third of students attending post-secondary institutions last fall were over the age of 24. Some have spouses and children and others are single parents attending college either full-time or part time,” said FHCWM Executive Director, Nancy Haynes. “Student housing management companies need to be mindful that their policies and practices do not exclude or place an unfair rent burden on students with children. Student housing should provide equal housing opportunity for all students.” Read the full release here.
New FHCWM Resources on Assistance Animals
The FHCWM is pleased to offer a Resource Guide on Assistance Animals in Housing (en Español), as well as, updated Guidebooks for Consumers (en Español) and Housing Providers and a Fact Sheet Supporting Requests for Assistance Animals (en Español). These resources have been updated in regards to the HUD Notice from January 2020.
FHCWM Book Club Resources
The FHCWM is pleased to offer tools to host your own (virtual) Book Club! The newest selection is "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" by Matthew Desmond. Visit our Book Club page to download a Facilitator's Guide and Discussion Questions.
$40 for 40 more years!
The FHCWM is celebrating 40 years this year and we couldn't have done it without the support from our members! When you give as a member, you help us provide vital education on fair housing laws and practices, research the state of housing discrimination in communities, and restore housing choice to people who may have been discriminated against. With a gift of any size, you can become a member of the Center and will receive regular updates about our work. Consider giving $40 for 40 more years and helping us continue to work to ensure equal access to housing choice for all of west Michigan's citizens.
You can donate online or mail a check to 20 Hall St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 addressed to: The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan. We appreciate your support and hope that you choose to support the FHCWM!
New COVID-19 Senior Support Services from the KCSM
The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan and the network of Kent County Senior Millage (KCSM) partners have announced a new millage service: COVID-19 Senior Support & Daily Assurance Calls for age 60+ Kent County residents. The new service provides vital wellness checks for older adults by phone and delivery of essential items. Not only does this aid those who may be homebound, ensuring their health and safety, but it can also relieve some of the burden from caregivers. Individuals can also opt-in to receive assurance calls. If you would like to learn more about available resources, or opt-in to receive assurance calls, contact the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan’s Information and Assistance Department at (616) 456-5664.
May 7th Event Postponed
After much consideration and guidance from the CDC, the State of Michigan and the Kent County Health Department, the FHCWM has begun taking proactive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 virus in our community and is exploring options to reschedule our annual Fair Housing Luncheon and Workshop Series, originally scheduled for May 7, 2020. The FHCWM is working with all parties and will post updated plans as soon as possible. We will be in touch with those of you who have registered to attend. Thank you for your understanding and be well.
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.
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.
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.