Looking for help with rent or your mortgage?
If you are struggling to pay rent or have an eviction in process, apply for COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) now. Learn more from Legal Aid of Western Michigan here and here. For more information on CERA, including the phone number and locations with walk-in assistance for Kent County, visit https://endhomelessnesskent.org/cera/. Click here for a statewide list of local CERA contact support numbers.
HUD to Enforce Fair Housing Act to Prohibit Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Feb. 11, 2021 - HUD announced that it will administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a memorandum stating that HUD interprets the Fair Housing Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and directing HUD offices and recipients of HUD funds (including the FHCWM) to enforce the Act accordingly. The memorandum begins implementation of the policy set forth in President Biden’s Executive Order 13988, which directed executive branch agencies to examine further steps that could be taken to combat such discrimination.
Executive Order on Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies
Jan. 26, 2021 - President Biden signed four executive actions aimed at advancing racial equity for Americans the White House says have been underserved and left behind, including directing HUD "to take steps necessary to redress racially discriminatory federal housing policies". Read the order.
2021: Please note that our office remains closed to the public until further notice. All FHCWM staff are working remotely and will be fully accessible via phone at 616-451-2980 and email. Tenga en cuenta que nuestra oficina permanece cerrada al público hasta nuevo aviso. Todo el personal de FHCWM está trabajando de forma remota y será completamente accesible por teléfono al 616-451-2980 y correo electrónico.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.