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Mapping the future while preserving the past in Louisville’s most historic black neighborhood
     (LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 27, 2015) -- Pamela Hines wants big changes for west Louisville’s historic Russell neighborhood.
     Hines, who lives in Parkland, opened Sweet Peaches restaurant next to the African-American Heritage Center at 18th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard in February 2014. But nearly a year in, the first-time business owner is getting anxious about the lack of growth and progress in the West End.
     “Nothing has changed,” she says. “It’s all the same as far as no new businesses and boarded-up houses. I haven’t seen anyone else come, and I don’t think there’s anyone outside myself who has taken a chance.”
     Attracting entrepreneurs and new private capital are among the goals of city and federal officials, and civic leaders, who proudly announced earlier this month that Louisville was one of six cities to receive a federal Choice Neighborhood planning grant. FULL STORY at insiderlouisville.com

Melissa Harris-Perry Is Ringing the alarm on the Supreme Court’s decision on fair housing in America
     (CHICAGO, Jan. 27, 2015) -- The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. case for the third time and news anchor Melissa Harris-Perry thinks we should all be “very afraid.”
     This case has somewhat challenges the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that determined no one could be denied a place to live based on their race, culture, religion, and today, sexual orientation. The above case however is a reflection of that law 45 years later. “When the court rules on this case…it could be amongst one of the most historic and consequential choices ever made about an issue at the heart of American lives and dreams…the place we call home,” Harris-Perry said this weekend on her “Melissa Harris-Perry Show.” FULL STORY at chicagodefender.com

Bill outlawing housing discrimination fails
     (RICHMOND,Va., Jan. 25, 2015) -- A senate committee on Monday killed a bill making it illegal for landlords to reject potential tenants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
     Senate Bill 917, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Wexton, D-Leesburg, failed on a 7-7 tie vote in the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee. Six Democrats and one Republican voted for the bill; seven Republicans voted against it.
     Wexton, who sits on the committee, said the bill would have included sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination under the unlawful practices in the Virginia Fair Housing Law. FULL STORY at wydaily.com

HOA boards should tread carefully on assistance animals
     (CHARLOTTE,N.C., Jan. 24, 2015) -- We are often asked about pet restrictions in the context of homeowners’ associations (HOAs) and their enforceability with respect to assistance animals for persons with disabilities.
     An HOA’s governing documents often restrict the type, size, and quantity of pets allowed. Like all good rules, there are exceptions.
     In this case, they come in the form of the federal Fair Housing Act. The act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or familial status in the sale, rental, and financing of housing, mandates that HOAs provide reasonable accommodations to homeowners with disabilities.
     The act should not be confused with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA governs only public spaces, including public housing. It is not applicable to HOAs in most cases, since most HOA-owned common areas are not places of “public accommodation.”
      FULL STORY at charlotteobserver.com

Area couple to speak on Fair Housing Act
     (TOLEDO, Ohio, Jan. 21, 2015) -- A Toledo couple will speak today on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court about their experience with mortgage discrimination, the same day the court hears arguments that could affect criteria of the Fair Housing Act.
     Eric and Vonda Williams will speak about their experiences alongside others who will urge the court not to scale back protections under the Fair Housing Act. Also traveling to Washington is Diana Patton, vice president, chief operating officer, and general counsel for the Toledo Fair Housing Center.
     At issue in the case Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs. The Inclusive Community Project Inc. is whether plaintiffs in housing discrimination cases must prove discriminatory intent.
     This would be a higher hurdle than the current standard, known as disparate affect, which means plaintiffs must only prove a policy disproportionately negatively impacts a protected class. Discrimination is prohibited against protected classes, meaning lenders can’t discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
      FULL STORY at toledoblade.com

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