Fair Housing Highlights
Explore fair housing highlights from across the nation. These highlights feature FHIP/FHAP organization accomplishments, various HUD FHEO announcements, case studies and more.
Latino Housing Trends During COVID-19
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) recently published a report on the housing trend for Latinos during COVID-19. The report noted that although the Latino population continues to grow and their economic progress improves, Latinos are dealing with the legacy of the racial wealth divide and the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report noted that “Latinos are still facing significant impacts on the ability to pay rent and mortgage payments over a year and a half into the pandemic” compared to their White counterparts. The report also provides a deeper dive into the correlation between the age of Latinos versus non-Hispanic Whites who reported being behind in rent or mortgage payments.
Over the past year, NFHTA’s forums have focused on inequities, including in race. As FHIP and FHAP professionals, it is critical that your outreach and investigative efforts address these gaps in your communities.
Learn more about NFHTA's National Fair Housing Forums and view past fourm materials.December 2021
FHEO Table Talks Series — Advancing Fair Housing and Racial Equity: Why it Matters
This episode of FHEO’s Table Talks Series, “Advancing Fair Housing and Racial Equality: Why it Matters” is hosted by Deandra J. Cullen, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS), FHEO, Office of Policy, Legislative Initiatives and Outreach. DAS Cullen’s guest is FHEO’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS), Demetria McCain. Throughout their conversation, PDAS McCain gives insight into her personal and professional experiences that she talks about informing all the work she has done and continues to do every day in her new position at HUD.
This video offers viewers an opportunity to get to know PDAS McCain on a deeper level. You will hear her goals for furthering fair housing, eliminating housing barriers, and advancing racial equity. PDAS McCain is a dynamic speaker whose genuine passion for this work shines during her dialogue with DAS Cullen. Plus, watch to find out what PDAS McCain would title her autobiography! Spoiler alert - you will not be disappointed!December 2021
Justice Department Resolves Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Massachusetts Landlord and His Employee
In 2019, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division and the Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts filed a suit against Worchester, MA property owner Mohan Prashad and his maintenance worker, David Besaw. The suit alleged that the men had violated the Fair Housing Act by sexually harassing female tenants. DOJ announced on November 23, 2021, that they have reached a consent decree in this suit.
The case involved allegations dating back to 2009 of unwanted touching, verbal sexual advances, and retaliation against women who refused and/or reported the harassment. It is critical to note that David Besaw, the maintenance worker employed by Mohan Prashad since at least 2014, is a Level 3 sex offender on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry. He has several convictions dating back as far as 1977.
Under the terms of the November 2021 settlement, the defendants are required to pay $65,000 to individuals harmed by their harassment and a $10,000 civil penalty. Additionally, it mandates that the property management duties are relinquished “to one or more individuals that are approved by the United States.” Those individuals will be required to give “detailed reporting of property management activities and compliance with the terms of the consent decree.” DOJ’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative was launched in October of 2017 and to date has recovered over $4.9 million for survivors of sexual harassment.December 2021
CNY Fair Housing Files Federal Lawsuit Against Provider for Refusing to Rent to Individuals and Families with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
On November 10, 2021, CNY Fair Housing filed a lawsuit in federal court against the owners and managers of Syracuse, NY Swiss Village Apartments, and the Alps at Swiss Village.
In the spring of 2019, CNY Fair Housing received a complaint from a local housing services provider reporting that they had contacted Swiss Village for a client they were assisting during a housing search. They indicated that they were told by Swiss Village’s management that they would not be able to rent to his client because nobody living in the apartment spoke English. The suit alleges that this policy is discrimination on the basis of national origin and race due to the prospective tenant’s Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
Before filing this case, CNY Fair Housing conducted multiple fair housing tests to further investigate the allegation. Those tests resulted in the collection of evidence that they have used in this suit. Additionally, they performed a rich data analysis of local demographics to show the disparate impact that this policy has on the Syracuse community. Sally Santangelo, Executive Director of CNY Fair Housing, remarked, “When a housing provider refuses to rent to families because they have limited English proficiency, it’s not just wrong, it also has a discriminatory effect on our community’s foreign-born residents that violates both federal and state fair housing laws.”December 2021