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Fair Chance at Housing Act offers solutions for people with criminal records
     (Washington, DC, June 24, 2016) -- Each year, more than 600,000 people are released from federal and state prisons, while roughly 11 million more cycle through local jails. But despite serving their time, many of these formerly incarcerated individuals find themselves continuously punished for their past mistakes. This is particularly true when they seek housing — a refuge, a place where they can get back on their feet.
     Resources, especially affordable housing, are already scarce in many of the communities where formerly incarcerated people return. Indeed, there is currently a shortage of 7.2 million affordable rental units that are available to extremely low income households. People with no interaction with the criminal justice system struggle to find affordable housing. Having a criminal record creates additional barriers that are often insurmountable.
     Too frequently, people with criminal records are refused housing or are precluded from rejoining their families, as most plan to do. That’s because housing providers have broad discretion in deciding who is permitted to live in their properties. As a result, formerly incarcerated individuals looking to make the most of their second chance instead find themselves at risk of becoming homeless or recidivating. OP-ED at Housing Wire

Bed-Stuy Realty Company Fined for Housing Discrimination Practices
     (New York, NY, June 24, 2016) -- A Brooklyn firm of realtors discriminated against prospective tenants who were using rental assistance vouchers, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday.
     Undercover calls to Rapid Realty Bedford Stuyvesant found that it discriminated against potential applicants with Living In Communities (LINC) III rental assistance vouchers, according to the Attorney General’s office.
     The assistance program helps homeless victims of domestic violence obtain housing. FULL STORY at dnainfo.com

Fair Housing Claim Revived in Property Restoration Suit
     (Farmington, NY, June 21, 2016) -- A federal appeals court has revived a suit over whether it's reasonable for a town to require a couple to restore property that they had been previously permitted to alter to provide access for their disabled child.
     The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday revived the lawsuit of Colleen and John Austin against the Town of Farmington for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
     The Austins moved to Farmington in 2009 with their two sons, the eldest of whom, Cole Austin, has cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. They planned to buy a house in a development that was subject to a town ordinance barring accessory structures such as pools and fences on so-called "patio lots."
     The couple bought the house after obtaining variances to build a fence to protect their child and an above-ground pool for aquatic therapy, but the resolution passed by the Town Board included a "restoration provision" requiring that structures be removed within 21 days after the child ceased to live on the property or the couple sold it. FULL STORY in The New York Law Journal

Sexual orientation and gender identity added to county fair housing ordinance
     (Kokomo, IN, June 20, 2016) -- Under protest, the Howard County Commissioners unanimously adopted an amendment to the county’s fair housing ordinance which modifies the definition of family to include “sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of its members.”
     The amendment was undertaken by the county in order to comply with the requirements of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was necessary in order to acquire three grants it has in process. These include about $300,000 in funding through the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council, a CDBG planning grant where Howard County is the lead applicant for the town of Russiaville, and a blight elimination grant through the IHCDA.
     The commissioners cited an issue with the language of the ordinance for being a reason they adopted the amendment “under protest.” FULL STORY in The Kokomo Perspective

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