For the Working Homeless Housing is out of Reach

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The National Low-Income Housing Coalition has recently released their 2018 Out of Reach report, which takes an in depth look at the correlation between wage and housing issues for low-income communities. The statistics cited in this piece all pertain to Cuyahoga County. Renting is the most viable option for people living paycheck to paycheck, but the numbers show it is still not that viable of an option for many.

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                        The problem becomes evident when looking at the gap between someone who makes minimum wage($8.30/hr), and the mean and median renter wage. A person making the mean($15.38/hr), and even median wage (roughly $14/hr), can comfortably afford to pay for a 0-bedroom apartment at Fair Market price($529/mo). While the mean and median wage earners can comfortably afford a 1-bedroom apartment, someone working full-time on minimum wage still falls $100 short per month for a 0-bedroom apartment, let alone a 1 or 2-bedroom apartment. The lack of affordable housing and low minimum wage work together to create huge problems. Not only does it create more homeless people, but people who are currently homeless will struggle to afford housing and escape homelessness. There will continue to be a steady rate of homelessness if the price of rent or the minimum wage does not change.

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By Connor McIntyre

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New Fair Housing Guidelines

By Abby Bova

In light of the frequent discrimination against homeless people with a criminal background, specifically those of color, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has established a new set of guidelines for those who are providing housing.  “The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings and in other housing-related activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin” (HUD).  This new movement for HUD will continue the fight for civil rights, begun in the 1960s, as they work for equal opportunity in housing for all Americans.  As much as one third of the U.S. population has some history with the criminal justice system, with the largest population of incarcerated individuals in the world. 

It is no surprise that a large portion of this prison population, and those who have been accused and arrested, is made up of black and Hispanic individuals, some of whom are serving unjust and unequal sentencing due to racial profiling (HUD).  Over nighty-five percent of this population will be released back to their communities at some point and will need to find some type of housing if they wish to be reintegrated into society.  “While having a criminal record is not a protected characteristic under the Fair Housing Act, criminal history-based restrictions on housing opportunities violate the Act if, without justification, their burden falls more often on renters or other housing market participants of one race or national origin over another (i.e., discriminatory effects liability)”, according to the HUD guidance to housing providers release. 

“In the first step of the analysis, a plaintiff (or HUD in an administrative adjudication) must prove that the criminal history policy has a discriminatory effect, that is, that the policy results in a disparate impact on a group of persons because of their race or national origin.  This burden is satisfied by presenting evidence proving that the challenged practice actually or predictably results in a disparate impact”(HUD).  This step has been put into place in order to protect those who have been accused or arrested, but never convicted of a crime.  Additionally, this step protects those who have been convicted of non-violent crimes, which pose no threat to property and other residents.  This guidance requests that arrest records should not be relied upon alone and may be discriminatory along with a policy that fails to consider other factors such as the age at the time of the offense, how long ago it took place, the nature of the offense, and what the person has been doing in the meantime – is there evidence of rehabilitation, were there any prior or subsequent convictions, etc.  This step will be especially beneficial to young black and Latino men who are commonly falsely arrested due to racial profiling, as well as the rest of the Latino and African American communities who experience racial profiling (HUD).

Accusations and arrests due to racial profiling have become a major topic of discussion over the past several years, and HUD has finally had enough.  These false accusations and arrests are reported to landlords and frequently keep men and women of color out of housing.  HUD asks housing providers to speak more in depth with housing applicants with a criminal record to further investigate the incident.  The housing provider should find out when and why this crime was committed, as well as talk to the applicant about what they have been up to since the arrest and how they have overcome the past.  The HUD lead staff states that those with major charges such as arson, production of meth, and homicide can be denied without much investigation.  However, they ask that charges such as use and possession be further investigated.

“In the second step of the discriminatory effects analysis, the burden shifts to the housing provider to prove that the challenged policy or practice is justified- that is, that it is necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest of the provider” (HUD).   The majority of housing providers claim that their policies are in place in order to protect their residents and their property.  Most courts will accept this as a legitimate reason for the rule.  Therefore, HUD has further implemented a process by which the housing provider must provide sufficient evidence as to how the rule in question protects the residents and their property.  “A housing provider with a policy or practice of excluding individuals because of one or more prior arrests (without conviction) cannot satisfy its burden of showing that such policy or practice is necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest” (HUD).  Meaning a housing provider cannot claim that he or she will not accept a candidate simply because they were arrested, in the interest of protecting their property and other tenants, because the individual was never charged with a crime.  The majority of these arrests without conviction are a result of racial profiling against innocent citizens (HUD).

“The third step of the discriminatory effects analysis is applicable only if a housing provider successfully proves that its criminal history policy or practice is necessary to achieve its substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interests.  In the third step, the burden shifts back to the plaintiff or HUD to prove that such interest could be served by another practice that has a less discriminatory effect” (HUD).  “A housing provider violates the Fair Housing Act when the provider’s policy or practice has an unjustified discriminatory effect, even when the provider had no intent to discriminate” (HUD).  For example, if a land lord says that they will only house people with a high school diploma, GED’s don’t count, this could be considered unintentional discrimination because the majority of the population who has a GED in lieu of a high school diploma are African American or Hispanic peoples who grew up in poverty.  With HUD’s new guidelines the accuser must show significant proof that the rule is discriminatory and then they may provide an alternative method that is less discriminatory, but still achieves the main goal the housing provider was attempting to reach through the rule in question.

The first step in creating true equality is granting everyone their basic rights to food, clothing and shelter.  HUD has taken a dramatic step forward towards racial equality in housing through these new guidelines.  As a result of HUD’s fight against racial profiling in housing, they will dramatically decrease the population of homeless black and Latino individuals, slowing the cycle of poverty.  By giving individuals a second chance and a means of escaping poverty the nation will be able to take great strides in eradicating homelessness.  Additionally, by providing housing HUD will decrease the nation’s prison population by removing individuals from desperate situations on the streets, in turn saving these individuals from becoming repeat offenders. 

These new guidelines cover everything from the private sector to HUD subsidized housing.  If found in a situation, which one feels as though they have been discriminated against in housing in North East Ohio one may to contact The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cleveland  or Housing Research & Advocacy Center at 216-361-9240, and they will guide the client through filling a complaint.  This is a big step forward for housing in America as we continue the fight against discrimination. 

Information found in HUD’s Document : Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate- Related Transactions.

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HUD Released New Guidance on Housing the Re-Entry Folks

Breaking news from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty…

As part of President Obama’s announcements today on re-entry programs, HUD has sent guidance to Public Housing Authorities and owners of other HUD-assisted housing related to arrests and convictions.  This is a huge step in trying to ease people back into the communities after a period of time incarcerated.  There was also supporting sentencing reform and an effort to ban the box on federal job applications.

Here is the guidance, fresh off the presses: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=PIH2015-19.pdf

In summary, it says:

  1. One-strike is not HUD policy
  2. Arrests are not sufficient evidence of criminal activity to support an adverse housing decision.
  3. Applicants and residents have due process rights if an adverse decision is being made based on criminal records.
  4. Apply any restrictions fairly and in accordance with civil rights laws.
  5. A list of best practices were also sent.

Many of us have advocated for this type of guidance for a long time and it is exciting to see it finally happen! The Law Center and the Fair Housing community will continue to push for more and broader guidance in the near future, particularly in the wake of the ICP Supreme Court case on disparate impact and the Fair Housing Act- which applies to all housing, not just HUD-assisted housing.

In the broader announcement, they are also announcing additional funding and programs to prevent/end the link between incarceration and unemployment and homelessness. We will have more details of this announcement in the future.

Brian Davis

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Fair Housing in the Shelters?

County Office of Homeless Advisory is going to Decide this Week if Fair Housing Rules should be Displayed at the Shelters in Cleveland

It only came to our attention that residents of the shelter had rights under the historic civil rights era Fair Housing Law in 2012 with the HUD release of the HUD LGBT rule.  This marked the first time that HUD was clear that shelters had to respect the rights of transgender homeless people who were in need of a place to live.  We have been assured by County staff that the shelters are fully in compliance with the rule, but I am not sure.  NEOCH has asked to have the rules that the shelter are following with regard to LGBT individuals and displayed so that both homeless individuals and staff can follow?  If a homeless individual has LGBT rights under the Fair Housing rules, do they have other fair housing rights?

My questions are:

  1. Will a veteran or domestic violence victim with a doctor ordered comfort animal for their PTSD be accommodated in our shelters? 
  2. Will a lesbian couple with a child be served in our family shelters despite the religious objections of a couple of our social service providers? 
  3. Will a gay couple be able to live together in our shelters with private rooms?
  4. Is there a gender disparity within our shelters since there are more services available at the Big Men's Shelter when compared to Community Women's Shelter for the disabled individuals?
  5. Are we violating the Violence Against Women Act protections if there are repeated complaints of male sexual harassment at the women’s shelter that are not investigated and acted upon? 
  6. Are we providing a reasonable accommodation to those with a documented physical disability if the only bed available is on the top of a bunk and so they have to sleep on the floor?  These would be clear if we all agreed to the rules and they were displayed. 

There are so many circumstances that are encountered by our local shelters and we don't seem to have a protocol for how we deal with these issues.  We have a Coordinated Intake/Central Intake point that makes the referral to shelter, but we do not seem to have a County wide policy.  We have heard that it is too complicated to display because there are many interpretations.  It would make it easier for all of us if the County just oversaw a consistent fair housing rule that we would all follow.

Without the rules outlined it is up to each homeless person to have to go to court or go to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or the Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to assert their rights.  Can or will the City’s Office of Fair Housing accept a claim on behalf of a homeless person?  This seems like a chaotic approach to establishing policy locally.  We need rules for everyone to follow.

We have heard from some that only the LGBT fair housing rule is in place for shelters all the other fair housing rules are not applicable.  Could we get some clarity on this with HUD then post those rules?  Even if this is the case, I am sure that LGBT individuals who become homeless would appreciate knowing that they have rights? 

CMHA has done a really nice job in implementing all the fair housing rules including the LGBT rules over the last three years, why can’t the shelters get together to come up with rules that we can all live with?  As it is right now, each shelter has to decide at what point they are willing to go to avoid lawsuit.  It would be nice to get the County to weigh in with some interpretations based on the real inventory of shelter beds locally. 

The Fair Housing Law has opened up housing to minority populations and families like no other law.  We believe that the fair housing laws can have a similar impact on the shelters.  It could be used to assure that homeless families do not have to split up or disabled individuals are able to recieve doctor ordered bedrest.  We believe that this will help people move more quickly to more appropriate locations.  It is not going to look good in the broader community if publicly funded shelters are determined to be violating the rights of families or disabled individuals.  We are urging the County to avoid the headache and put the rules in place for all to follow.

Ignorance of the law is no defense in court, and if LGBT Homeless have fair housing rights why don't disabled and women have similar rights?   We should not force each individual to assert their rights in the shelter and have each shelter have to defend against these “unclear” rules.

Brian Davis

NEOCH

Fair Housing Laws Under Attack in Ohio

 

 

Good morning advocates -- I hope you’re ready to help us fight a bill that would roll back civil rights in Ohio by 50 years.

This is not a joke. The Ohio House is considering a measure that would make housing discrimination legal. Hard to believe, but HB 149 (SB 134 in the Senate) would make it legal for certain small landlords and homeowners to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, family status, military status, etc. when they rent or sell their properties. These bills would also dramatically reduce or remove important sanctions, which currently provide disincentives to discriminate.

You can learn more about these anti-fair housing bills by reading editorials from the Akron Beacon Journal, Toldeo Blade or the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who also oppose the measures.

While we’ve slightly slowed the speed at which this bill is moving, we need your help immediately to reinforce our efforts.

Please help stop our legislature from rolling back civil rights 50 years! Call your elected officials by WEDNESDAY, June 3. See details below:

House Committee on Financial Institutions, Housing,
and Urban Development

Call List for Opponents of HB 149 – amending Ohio’s Fair Housing Law

Please call the Committee Leadership (below) with the following message:


I’m calling today to urge Representative _____________ to OPPOSE House Bill 149. I think that Ohio’s Fair Housing Law should not be changed. It has served us well for 50 years, and House Bill 149 makes unnecessary changes that will weaken civil rights laws.

-OR-


I want Representative _____________ to know that House Bill 149 is WRONG FOR OHIO, and that I expect her/him to OPPOSE House Bill 149, in order to protect the strong civil right law that we’ve had in Ohio since 1965.


Louis Terhar (R) – Chairman - Cincinnati area
District 30
Phone (614) 466-8258

Stephen D. Hambley (R) – Vice Chairman – Brunswick area
District 69
Phone (614) 466-8140

Christie Bryant Kuhns (D) – Ranking Member – Cincinnati area
District 32
Phone (614) 466-1645
 
If you are represented by one of the following committee members,
please also call using the same message.

Andrew Brenner (R) – Powell area
District 67
Phone (614) 644-6711

Tim W. Brown (R) – Bowling Green area
District 3
Phone (614) 466-8104

Mike Dovilla (R) – Berea area
District 7
Phone (614) 466-4895

Bob D. Hackett (R) – London area
District 74
Phone (614) 466-1470

Bill Reineke (R) – Tiffin area
District 88
Phone (614) 466-1374

Gary Scherer (R) – Circleville area
District 92
Phone (614) 644-7928

Robert Sprague (R) – Findlay area
District 83
Phone (614) 466-3819

We can stop these bills if we all pitch in. I appreciate your help in protecting 50 years of civil rights progress. Let's slam the door on housing discrimination in Ohio!

Many thanks,

Bill Faith

Executive Director and Chief Lobbyist for the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio

News Stories for this Week

There was an explosive report issued out of the University of Berkeley and proof that cities are making it illegal to be homeless.   The report shows that 58 cities are passing laws that are unequally enforced on homeless people.  They cited anti-camping laws among others as unfairly targeting homeless people for criminal citations. 

Channel 3 has been looking at people who live outside in this extreme cold. They talked to Rick and before that Christine.  They have been talking to people who stay outside.

Channel 19 put aside their tabloid news and did a nice story about the Salvation Army Canteen (not a Cantina).  The Salvation Army feeds hundreds in East Cleveland and Cleveland. 

St. Louis takes steps to make it easier to participate in the voucher program and makes it difficult for landlords to refuse to take a voucher.  We need similar laws that would not allow landlords to discriminate against voucher holders. 

We love the libraries and in Cleveland they are really helpful to homeless people.  This is a story about how libraries are trying to adapt to the number of people who are homeless and using the facility.  This is a Huffington Post article about libraries attempts to help homeless people with jobs and health care. 

How about a public restroom in Cleveland?  New Mexico was looking at introducing a shower bus that goes around the community to help people maintain their hygiene. 

Mother Jones did a long story about Housing First.  I am always dubious about quoting statisitcs (72% drop) when we know how unreliable counting homeless people can be.  They do a good job of outlining all the good items about homelessness.  It does not mention some of the draw backs of the programs or how the programs that are saving money can spend that savings on other homeless people.  It is a good overview of the issues and the program characteristics.

Brian Davis

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Housing 101 Announced for March

Part of the mission of the Coalition is to better educate the public about housing and homelessness.  To fulfill this part of our mission, we try to organize periodic sessions explaining the complicated system of affordable housing in our community.  Our first session for 2015 is March 20 at the NEOCH Conference RoomWe have a page of our website explaining the workshop with a copy of the flyer to advertise the event. 

This year, we will have the following guests invited to present:

  • We will have an overview of the HousingCleveland.org website with a focus on the fragile populations functions.
  • We will have a look at the Cleveland Housing Court/mediation services and special services available for those facing an eviction.
  • We will be provided an overview of the services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs locally and the other programs serving veterans.
  • There will be a presentation on fair housing and how to assert your fair housing rights locally. 
  • Finally, a look at Permanent Supportive housing and Coordinated Intake at the workshop.  Staff from Frontline Services will talk about access, supply and program expectations within the homeless programs.

The workshop is $15 for those who will need Continuing Education credit for social workers and $10 for those who who do not need the CEUs. The workshop is March 20, 2015 from 10 to 1 p.m. at NEOCH. There is a flyer to complete and send back or you can check out our webpage

Brian Davis

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NEOCH Supports Equality in Housing and Employment in Ohio

Discrimination Against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People is Generally Legal in Ohio

It is legal in Ohio to be fired from your job, denied an apartment, or refused service at a movie theater, restaurant or hotel because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.  In many cities and counties in Ohio and for many government employees, these practices are prohibited, but there are no statewide nondiscrimination protections that protect all Ohioans.

21 of the 50 states currently protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, putting Ohio at a competitive disadvantage for recruiting and hiring the best and brightest professional talent.  Many employers across the country and here in Ohio have extended nondiscrimination policies to cover LGBT people, but millions of Ohioans remain unprotected.  According to Equality Ohio, protections are needed for everyone.

Equality Ohio is working with a bi-partisan group of legislators to pass the Equal Housing and Employment Act to end discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless voted at our September board meeting to urge our members to support the Equal Housing and Employment Act.  We co-administer the Housing website, HousingCleveland.org and have heard horror stories from homeless people struggling to find housing with good credit and no criminal background who face discrimination from small mom and pop apartment unit owners who will not accept "non-traditional" tenants.  We have seen from the Housing Center State of Fair Housing Report that Familial Status has become the second highest number of complaints they received in 2013 and Gender issues are now the fourth highest number of complaints in Northeast Ohio.  Many of those complaints are discrimination of transgender individuals and/or lesbian and gay couples who face denial of housing because of their gender or who they establish a relationship with. 

In the last five sessions of the Ohio General Assembly, legislation was introduced to protect all Ohioans from losing their job, being denied housing, or being refused public accommodations based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  On September 15, 2009, by a vote of 56 to 39, the Ohio House of Representatives passed the Equal Housing and Employment Act.  The historic vote marked the first time the Ohio General Assembly has voted on legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The bill unfortunately was not given testimony or a vote in the Senate and died with the end of the 2008-2009 legislative session.

In 2013 a new bill was introduced in both houses (S.B. 125 and H.B. 163).

LGBT Ohioans face discrimination on many levels.  EHEA would prevent LGBT Ohioans from being judged on anything other than their job performance; it would allow all LGBT Ohioans the ability to obtain the housing of their choice; and, it would allow LGBT Ohioans to be served equally at restaurants, movie theaters and hotels everywhere in the state. NEOCH urges state legislators to hold hearings on this important measure and then pass it into law.  

Brian Davis

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Cogswell Hall--100 Years

Staff of Cogswell Hall saw our post about Cosgrove Center and their 20 years of existence and wondered if we could mention Cogswell Hall serving Cleveland for over 100 years. Their building was renovated back in 2009, but the original construction was in 1914.  Their growth and continued existence is impressive and they are celebrating with an event on September 19 called Coming Home.  Now for those who do not know Cogswell Hall is a permanent supportive housing apartment building on the near West Side of Cleveland.   They are helping those who have been homeless for a long period of time back into housing.  They have social services and other help available to this mostly disabled population.  They should be congratulated for making it one hundred years, and we should celebrate this newly renovated building improving our neighborhoods in Cleveland.  We are also proud that they are fellow Community Shares Members here in Cleveland.  Staff at Cogswell Hall are always helpful with voting, protecting client rights and other social justice issues. 

In looking back at the Cogswell Hall history, it really shows how the city has changed in the last 150 years.   We have grown up and improved our fair housing obligations, but what have we lost during that time?  Cogswell Hall started serving exclusively women and now takes all, but is there a need to serve women in a separate facility?  All the previous incarnations of Cogswell Hall are still necessary in Cleveland, but have sadly disappeared.  They started as a temperance union for women, which is not something we talk much about today.  In an age of medical marijuana, very few are talking about outlawing alcohol.   That would be pretty much the end of professional sports, reality shows, tractor pulls, wrestling, and demolition derbies if we outlawed alcohol consumption.  In 1892, they became a halfway house for those leaving the women's workhouse.  They were a training facility and provided "anti-alcohol encouragement."  These are services we need today.  We have Women's Re-entry, but they don't have a building for transitioning the women back to full time employment and stable housing.  This halfway house for women coming out of incarceration is a type of program we could use today.

In 1899, Cogswell Hall moved to the West Side and worked on preventing young girls from getting into trouble.  Now, we have the YWCA doing the same type of program, but working with a slightly older group of young women.  We could use more programs that work with young women to keep them out of trouble.  The Cogswell Hall current building was built in 1914 and had 27 rooms and was known as the training home for girls.  The group changed their name to Cogswell Hall in 1952--renamed after its founder.  In the 1970s, Cogswell started renting apartments to older women 60 years of age and older. This might be one group that the market is sufficiently serving at this time.  We have an aging society and we may see a need for senior housing in the next 10 to 20 years, but at least right now we are meeting the housing needs of seniors.  Many landlords want to rent to seniors because they do not have parties and typically have steady income.  With only around 1% of the homeless population over 60 it is not a huge issue in Cleveland in 2014. In the 1970s, I am sure that Cogswell Hall served a vital service to seniors. 

In 2004, Cogswell Hall started accepting fragile women of any age and providing supportive services.  While fair housing standards say that apartment owners cannot discriminate based on gender, there was some merit to serving women separate from men.  Women experience violence leading to homelessness at huge rates.  This often makes it difficult to live in the same building with men.  Women still face discrimination in the workplace, pay rate discrepancies, and archaic hiring practices that make it necessary to provide additional help. They still face landlords who prey upon women and they need fair housing protections, but we could use separate facilities to serve especially fragile females.  We keep losing programs for women in this community, and that makes it harder to serve women and female headed households.  We lost East Side Catholic shelter, Triumph House, the Care Alliance program for women, Family Transitional, Transitional Housing Inc, and now this month Continue Life for pregnant young moms.  All these programs were lost in our community and only a handful of the beds were replaced.  We are not doing all we can do to serve homeless women in our community.  While we have made great strides in providing fair housing for minority populations and women, there has been a cost.  This major step forward has actually set back the fragile females who need extra assistance overcoming obstacles in our community.

The building over on Franklin is impressive and the wrap around services offered are wonderful.  Cogswell Hall serves a critical need in our community as they have done for 100 years.  We hope that you can support Cogswell Hall in 2014 to mark their landmark anniversary.  We wish them good luck on their fundraiser.

Brian Davis

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NEOCH Opposes Attack on Fair Housing

NEOCH and The Fight 349 Coalition invite you to participate in a campaign to stop Senate Bill 349 which would undermine Ohio's Fair Housing laws by creating an exemption for owners of 3 or fewer dwelling units; permitting landlords to recover attorney fees from tenants in the case of a finding of "no probable cause" and capping damages for fair housing organizations seeking to recover their expenses when prosecuting a discrimination case.  The legislation would make it difficult for fair housing groups to use "testers" to go to the property to assure that landlords are not violating the law.  It does not make any sense to make it impossible to test these violations and give all the power to the landlord in these disputes. 

If passed in Ohio, it would likely cost the state to lose $1 million which comes to the state to investigate Fair Housing cases because the federal government would not consider the State of Ohio an effective partner in battling fair housing violations.  That would likely stop veterans and active military from bringing discrimination claims as is their right under state law as for example when a landlord refuses to rent to a military family that is at risk of being called to active duty.

Learn more about SB 349 at or a more detailed explanation here. The bill specifically:

  • Sets up conflict between state and federal fair housing law, thereby stripping Ohio of the approximately $1 million that HUD annually provides to the OCRC to investigate discrimination cases. The housing law conflict would prohibit the OCRC from accessing Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) dollars that support complaint processing, enforcement activities, training and other projects.
  • Diminishes the consequences of discrimination by lowering and capping the punitive damages that landlords found guilty of flagrant discrimination would have to pay. 
  • Discourages victims of housing discrimination from filing a complaint to protect their rights by making them liable for the attorney’s fees of the party they accuse of discrimination if there is not enough evidence to prove their case.
  • Reduces legal challenges to discrimination by prohibiting state or local fair housing agencies from collecting actual or punitive damages.
  • Renders the OCRC unable to punish housing discrimination and forces cases into the more expensive and complex courts process.
  • Superficially mirrors some portions of federal law while gutting Ohio’s current protections from housing discrimination.

We have yet to fulfill the goals of the Fair Housing Act.  We still have discrimination based on gender, gender identity, familial status and of course race or national origin.  Why would the state want to weaken our fair housing laws when we see the large number of protected groups becoming homeless because they cannot find housing.

Brian Davis

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Fair Housing and How to Find Housing in Cleveland

Reminder that there is a Housing Forum for social service providers and clients to learn more about housing programs in Cleveland.  Housing Research and Advocacy Center will provide an overview of the Fair Housing Laws and where you can go to get help.  We will go through Housing Cleveland and discuss some of the broad categories of housing locally.  There will be time to answer questions as well. 

Thursday May 15 at 10 A.M on the Second Floor of the Cosgrove Center.

Brian Davis

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Change.org Petition Update

I don't understand how the petition to bring "Brian Griffin--the Dog" back to the Fox TV Show Family Guy has 96,000 people signing on to the Change.org, while important petitions about the right to privacy among tenants living in the suburbs of Cleveland has only 29 supporters.  A talking cartoon dog is funny, but asking the suburbs of Cleveland to follow the law should be a no brainer.  Besides, its a cartoon dog that can talk, the writers can bring Brian the Dog back anytime they want in a fantasy world.  We are petitioning a real issue that could have negative consequence for real people in the suburbs.  Just click here if you have not signed this petition yet http://chn.ge/1f8RF6A

In case you did not see our original post, we are asking people to sign the Change.org petition to protect the rights of disabled people wanting to live in the suburbs of Cleveland.  Suburban community development agencies want to require that EDEN inc. disclose the addresses (thus where disabled people live within their suburbs).   We oppose government demanding to know where tax payers live just because the federal government pays their rent.  This is a form of discrimination, intimidation, and a huge invasion of privacy.  We fear that it could cause landlords to not want to rent to people with EDEN housing vouchers or it could risk disabled tenants becoming the target of hate crimes.  Once this list of addresses is given to a government, it is impossible to keep this information secure and confidential.   Landlords will not want to be identified by the local government or neighbors as serving mentally ill or fomerly addicted individuals.   Please sign the petition to ask that the suburbs not seek personal information about tenants in violation of the fair housing law.

Brian Davis

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Sewer District to Present at CAHA

We have all seen the fee added to our Sewer District bills to improve the storm sewer overflow system in Northeast Ohio, but how will these new fees impact the preservation and development of affordable housing in Cleveland?   At the August 5, 2013, Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance meeting we will have staff from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District present to talk about the fees and what commercial entities can do to reduce costs.  Businesses are being assessed for every square foot of concrete and the water that comes off buildings going into the sewer.   There are ways to reduce the fee, but the question is will this stifle the development of housing?   We will have time for questions and concerns at this forum. 

In addition to Sewer District staff, we will have Kris Keniray, Fair Housing Investigator of the Housing Research and Advocacy Center talk about the State of Fair Housing in the region.  The Housing Center keeps track of fair housing violations, investigates complaints and issues an annual report. 

It should be a good meeting, and all are welcome to attend. The meeting is in the lower level of the HUD headquarters in Cleveland at 1350 Euclid Ave. at 1:30 p.m.

Brian Davis

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Fair Housing Workshop

Blanket from Transformational ArtHow Fair Housing Rights Can Help Your Clients/Consumers!

        Wednesday July 18, 2012

        1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

        Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building

           3450 Lee Road Shaker Hts. 44120

This forum will feature presenters from the Cleveland Tenants Organization (CTO), and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO). 

You will be able to learn about rental housing rights, how the fair housing laws can increase housing stability for your clients and consumers, strategies for self-help methods tenants can use to stablize their households. 

FREE CEUs For SOCIAL WORKERS

Register and obtain more information for the Inclusion and Stability workshop website.  Space is limited so you must register by calling 888-485-7999 and leaving a message.

Funding for this workshop is provided under a grant with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.