Broward enacts new protections against housing discrimination

Broward County landlords can no longer refuse to rent to someone simply because that person is a military veteran or domestic violence victim.

Broward commissioners unanimously voted to expand the county’s housing anti-discrimination regulations Tuesday to ensure military personnel and returning veterans have access to housing and that victims of domestic assault aren’t victimized again.

The discrimination exists, said Wynnora Wilson of Legal Aid Service of Broward County, who has worked with a variety of housing programs.

“I saw firsthand … landlords actually enunciating that they would never rent to a veteran. I found that stunning, but there was absolutely nothing I could do,” Wilson said. “It’s ridiculous that the brave men and women who served this country and sometimes

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Do you know about fair housing? Play HOPE’s quiz game!

Would you like to put your fair housing knowledge to the test? Check out the HOPE quiz and see what you know! Please click on the link that's right for your computer, PC (Windows) or Mac (Apple), to download our quiz -

PC users:
http://hopefhc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/HOPE-Questions-for-PC-Please-save-to-desktop.zip

Mac users:
http://hopefhc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/HOPE-Questions-for-Mac-Please-save-to-desktop.zip

The quiz is a Flash animation contained in ZIP files at the links above; please send an e-mail to Rob at rob@hopefhc.com if you're having any issues accessing it. Thank you!

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TODAY is Give Miami Day! We at HOPE appreciate your support!

To help HOPE's work against housing discrimination, please go to http://givemiamiday.org/npo/hope-inc.  TODAY is Give Miami Day, a day to donate to organizations in Miami with the benefit of matching funds!  We appreciate your support!

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Please support HOPE on Give Miami Day, 11/16/17

HOPE is participating in Give Miami Day 2017!  On November 16, 2017, please go to givemiamiday.org to support HOPE’s efforts to end housing discrimination!  Thank you for your consideration!

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Proposed ‘Competitive Workforce Act’ would protect Florida LGBT individuals from discrimination

Last week, State Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg), filed the Competitive Workforce Act to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Florida law currently prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, marital status, or disability. State Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando,  (R Orlando) will co-sponsor the bill.

The Competitive Workforce Act is supported by Florida Competes, a coalition of nine Fortune 500 companies and more than 450 small businesses from across the state, Diamond said. Last year, 50 members of the Florida House signed on as co-sponsors to a similar bill – more than ever before.

“Florida businesses are strong supporters of this bill,” Diamond said. “Our businesses

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Connect with us on social media!

We invite you to add us on Facebook and Twitter, as we work towards eliminating housing discrimination!  For Facebook, please find us at HOPE, Inc. Fair Housing Center (you can click this link to go directly to our page).  For Twitter, please find us at @hope_fhc (again, you can click this link to go directly to the page).  Thank you!

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Which housing discrimination is illegal? Know your rights!

Housing discrimination laws cover rentals AND sales.  You are protected in cases of illegal discrimination at the hands of a current or potential housing provider.

The amended federal Fair Housing Act prohibits, nationally, any discrimination in the sale, rental, lending, insurance, or advertising of housing on the basis of: Race · Color · National Origin · Religion · Disability · Sex · Familial Status (as in whether or not you have children)

Florida’s fair housing laws provide protection against discrimination on these additional bases: HIV Status

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HUD Report Finds People Living with Mental Disabilities Face Significant Rental Housing Discrimination

Persons living with mental illness, intellectual or other developmental disabilities continue to face significant housing discrimination in the rental housing market, according to a new pilot study released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Rental Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Mental Disabilities: Results of Pilot Testing finds that when compared to people without mental disabilities, those persons who are living with mental disabilities receive fewer responses to their rental inquiries, are informed of fewer available units, and are less likely to be invited to contact the housing provider.  In addition, HUD’s study found that they are less likely to be invited to tour an available unit, are more likely to be steered to a different unit than

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Sun Sentinel interviews HOPE President & CEO Keenya Robertson, Esq. on fair housing protections in Broward County

Finding an affordable place to live can be tough and Broward County commissioners don’t want discriminatory practices to make it any harder.  Commissioners are considering expanding protections to veterans, victims of domestic violence and others who may be having trouble renting or buying to make sure they aren’t being treated unfairly.

“We know that there are some areas where there is still discrimination,” said Commissioner Nan Rich, who is behind the effort to create the new protections.

The federal government prohibits discrimination based on someone’s race, religion, sex, national origin, disability and whether or not they have children. The state includes protections based on a person’s HIV status. Broward already has additional protections covering marital status, political

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HUD swears in new assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development swore-in its new assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity Thursday.  Anna Maria Farías will take the new position after being confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate. HUD Secretary Ben Carson administered the oath of office to Farías.

Now, she will be responsible for leading the department’s work to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity and achieve diverse, inclusive communities.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Anna Maria back home to HUD,” Carson said. “As she has in the past, Anna Maria will provide steady leadership and will advance HUD’s mission as a manifestation of our nation’s fair housing and civil rights laws.”

Previously, Farías served in senior roles at HUD under

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Miami Herald Interviews HOPE VP Daniel Howe Concerning Recent Lawsuit

Douglas Allen has lived in the same three-bedroom home in a quiet West Kendall suburb for 23 years. When the late-night parties at the vacant house next door started, he called police.

“We could smell marijuana and hear noises and loud music,” said Allen, 74. “The police would come and shut the parties down and everyone went home. But then a week or two later, it would happen again.”

Allen says the revelers were able to get into the property because the front doors weren’t locked and some of the windows had been smashed. So he called the county commissioner’s office in Kendall to complain. A few days later, the broken panes were boarded up. A digital turnkey lock used by Realtors was placed on the front door. A new gate barring access to the rear of the property was installed.

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National Effort to Hold Deutsche Bank Responsible for Neglect of Foreclosures in Communities of Color

HOPE and 18 other fair housing organizations joined the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) in the filing of an amended administrative with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) against Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Bank National Trust, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Ocwen Financial Corporation, and Altisource Portfolio Solution, Inc.  The original complaint was filed against Deutsche Bank, et al. on February 26, 2014.

Today’s amended complaint adds Ocwen and Altisource as respondents in the 30 metropolitan areas. Deutsche Bank contracts with Ocwen and Altisource to provide preservation maintenance and marketing for the overwhelming majority of properties for which the Bank is listed as owner of record.  Also included is new evidence in support of

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2017 Fair Housing Trends Report

Every year, the National Fair Housing Alliance releases a report on trends in fair housing, including the most recent data on reported instances of housing discrimination in America.  In this 2017 Fair Housing Trends Report, we make The Case for Fair Housing.  To fully outline why fair housing is so imperative, this report covers the history of policies and practices that have made our communities so segregated and why that is such a harmful thing for our nation.  It also explains the mechanisms that are in place to combat housing discrimination and dismantle segregation.  We then cover the most recent data on fair housing complaints from private fair housing centers, DOJ, HUD and FHAP agencies.  Highlights of this data include:

There were 28,181

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NFHA Joins the Communities Against Hate Initiative

Dear Members and Supporters,

The surge of hate activity in communities all over the country following the 2016 elections has created an urgency for us to do something more to protect one another and foster peace and acceptance in our neighborhoods.  In the US, hate crimes are more likely to occur at a residence than any other location – 31.57% of hate incidents happen at someone’s home. That is almost double the rate of the next most likely place – a highway, road, or alley.  But most victims of hate activity who are harassed, threatened, intimidated, or whose home or apartment is vandalized, do not report it -- in part because they do not know that the federal Fair Housing Act protects them.

We need your help to turn that around.  The National Fair Housing Alliance

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Sen. Tim Kaine introduces legislation to protect LGBTQ people from housing discrimination

On June 9th, 2017, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in housing. A companion bill to bipartisan legislation introduced in March by Reps. Scott Taylor (R-VA) and Brad Schneider (D-IL) in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Fair and Equal Housing Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in housing by adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act.

“In far too many places across the country, LGBTQ people are at risk of being denied housing or kicked out of their homes just because of who they are,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “What side of a state line you live

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Which housing discrimination is illegal? Know your rights!

Housing discrimination laws cover rentals AND sales.  You are protected in cases of illegal discrimination at the hands of a current or potential housing provider.

The amended federal Fair Housing Act prohibits, nationally, any discrimination in the sale, rental, lending, insurance, or advertising of housing on the basis of: Race · Color · National Origin · Religion · Disability · Sex · Familial Status (as in whether or not you have children)

Florida’s fair housing laws provide protection against discrimination on these additional bases: HIV Status

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Supreme Court Rules Miami Can Sue for Predatory Lending

On May 1, 2017, The Supreme Court ruled that Miami can sue two banks for predatory lending under the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The case arose from the 2008 financial crisis. Miami sued Bank of America and Wells Fargo, saying that their discriminatory mortgage lending practices had led to a disproportionate number of defaults by minority home buyers and, in turn, to financial harm to the city.


Even as the majority of justices ruled that Miami was entitled to sue under the housing law, the court declined to decide whether the city had asserted a direct enough connection between the banks’ actions and the harm it claimed. The court sent the case back to the federal appeals court in Atlanta

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HUD Secretary Ben Carson addresses the potential cuts in his department

President Donald Trump has recommended the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) make massive cuts to its budget.

Miami CBS4 Anchor Rudabeh Shahbazi spoke with HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson about whether that will lead to homelessness and what he plans to do differently.

Here is their conversation:

RS: President Trump has recommended cutting the HUD budget by 13 percent, or more than $6 billion.  The National Low Income Housing Initiative estimates that under that plan, more than 200,000 seniors, families, people with disabilities, might be at immediate risk of eviction and homelessness.  What’s your response to that?

BC: There is going to be a $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, and housing is a very significant portion of that. And so I don’t think that there’s

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Happy Fair Housing Month from all of us at HOPE!

Happy Fair Housing Month 2017 to you!  To learn more about Fair Housing Month, please click here.  To learn more about our events celebrating Fair Housing Month, please click here.

Thank you!

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We hope to see you at our Fair Housing Month events in April 2017!

HOPE's annual Fair Housing Month celebrations (one in Broward County, one in Miami-Dade County) are quickly approaching!  Here are details:

 

Broward County event, “Championing our Future”

Friday, April 7, 2017 · Signature Grand, 6900 State Road 84, Davie, FL 33317

8:30am – 2:30pm: Workshop, followed by luncheon

The 2017 Broward County Fair Housing Celebration is HOPE Fair Housing Center's annual fair housing education workshop and luncheon for Broward County housing providers, agencies, and industry professionals.

Space is limited. A minimum number of attendees per organization will apply. For sponsorship opportunities or additional information, please contact Rita Scott at rita@hopefhc.com

 

 

Miami-Dade County event, “Opening Doors”

Friday,

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HUD settles with Florida company that denied insurance coverage to certain properties

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced agreements with two insurance companies in Ohio and Florida settling allegations the companies violated the Fair Housing Act by denying insurance coverage to properties that contain “subsidized housing” and “low-income housing.”

Read the conciliation agreement with McGowan and Company, based in Fairview Park, Ohio.
Read the conciliation agreement with Mack, Mack & Waltz Insurance Group based in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful for providers of housing-related services or products, including insurance providers, to discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status.

The agreements stemmed from a Secretary-Initiated

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Which housing discrimination is illegal? Know your rights!

Housing discrimination laws cover rentals AND sales.  You are protected in cases of illegal discrimination at the hands of a current or potential housing provider.

The amended federal Fair Housing Act prohibits, nationally, any discrimination in the sale, rental, lending, insurance, or advertising of housing on the basis of: Race · Color · National Origin · Religion · Disability · Sex · Familial Status (as in whether or not you have children)

Florida’s fair housing laws provide protection against discrimination on these additional bases: HIV Status

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HOPE Sues Large Property Management Company for Discrimination Against Families with Children

Following an investigation in the Fall of 2016, HOPE has filed a federal housing discrimination lawsuit against the large property management company Centennial Management. After receiving a complaint regarding a couple with children who went to an apartment managed by Centennial with rules limiting the number of people per bedroom, HOPE investigated that complex and thirteen of the company’s other properties in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The investigation revealed that Centennial’s policies and practices restricted apartment occupancy to less than two people per bedroom in many of their developments. This practice tends to make fewer dwellings available to families with children and force them into leasing higher-priced, larger-sized apartments.

The lawsuit filed against

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HOPE to host annual Fair Housing Month events this April!

Please join us for our 2017 Fair Housing Month events!

Broward County: Friday, April 7, 2017 at the Signature Grand in Davie

Miami-Dade County: Friday, April 28, 2017 at Jungle Island in Miami

Please call (305) 651-4673 for more details!

Hope to see you there!

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The fair housing laws protect people who are immigrants, refugees, and people of all religious faiths

Federal, state, and local fair housing laws prohibit discrimination based on national origin, religion, and ancestry. For a complete list of all the people protected from discrimination, click here.*

The fair housing laws protect people who are immigrants, refugees, and people of all religious faiths.

Call HOPE at (305) 651-4673 if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination because you are an immigrant or a refugee, because of where you are from, or because of your religious faith.

The fair housing laws protect you regardless of your immigration status.

It is illegal for a landlord to treat you differently because of your immigration status, national origin, or religion. That means people involved in renting homes cannot:

refuse to rent

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JP Morgan to Pay $55 Million to Settle Mortgage Discrimination Complaint

JP Morgan Chase & Co has agreed a $55 million settlement for a US Justice Department lawsuit. The lawsuit accused the company of discriminating against minority borrowers, allowing mortgage brokers to charge more for mortgages.

The US Justice Department complaint was filed in Manhattan federal court, accusing the bank of willfully violating the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the US Fair Housing Act between 2006 and 2009. According to the complaint, this showed disregard for the rights of at least 53,000 Hispanic and African-American borrowers.

JP Morgan denies any wrongdoing and has stated it is committed to providing equal access to credit. It has agreed to settle these allegations in relating to pricing set by independent brokers. Apparently, the alleged discrimination

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HUD charges Bank of America with lending discrimination

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday that it is charging Bank of America and two of its employees with discriminating against Hispanic mortgage borrowers.

The charges stem from a complaint filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance, which conducted a series of “secret shopper” tests where Hispanic and non-Hispanic individuals, posing as prospective mortgage borrowers, attempted to get a mortgage from a Bank of America branch in Charleston, South Carolina.  According to the National Fair Housing Alliance and HUD, Hispanic prospective mortgage borrowers were given inferior loan options when compared to non-Hispanic prospective borrowers.

Specifically, the NFHA claimed that bank discriminated against prospective borrowers who are Hispanic by failing to

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HOPE files federal lawsuit for housing discrimination against families with children

Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. (HOPE) has joined a family denied housing in a federal housing discrimination lawsuit against Centennial Management. After receiving a complaint regarding a couple with children who went to an apartment managed by Centennial with rules limiting the number of people per bedroom, HOPE investigated that complex and thirteen of the company’s other properties in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The investigation revealed that Centennial’s policies and practices restricted apartment occupancy to less than two people per bedroom in many of their developments. This practice tends to make fewer dwellings available to families with children and force them into leasing higher-priced, larger-sized apartments.

The lawsuit filed against Centennial

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Mortgage Giant Fannie Mae Accused of Racial Discrimination in 38 U.S. Metro Areas

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 20 local fair housing organizations from across the United States have filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against Fannie Mae in federal district court in San Francisco, California. The lawsuit alleges that Fannie Mae purposely fails to maintain its foreclosures (also known as real estate owned or “REO” properties) in middle- and working-class African American and Latino neighborhoods to the same level of quality it does for foreclosures it owns in white middle- and working-class neighborhoods. The data supporting the federal lawsuit, which includes substantial photographic evidence, shows a stark pattern of discriminatory conduct by Fannie Mae in the maintenance of its foreclosures.

Click for larger version
The lawsuit is the result of

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HUD files charges for discrimination in Hollywood, Florida

In November 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is charging landlords in South Florida with discrimination against tenants with disabilities. Rather than a tenant-based allegation, the charge reflects concerns about a visitor who travels with an emotional support animal.

HUD charged three entities in the Florida case: the owner of Hillcrest East Building No. 22, a multifamily development in Hollywood, Florida; the property’s management company, Rhodes Management; and a previous president of the homeowners’ association. The housing discrimination allegation claims they failed to make reasonable accommodations, published discriminatory notices and statements, and attempted to intimidate and retaliate against two family members who filed a

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Supreme Court hears arguments about Miami suing banks over lending

Supreme Court justices signaled they may divide over the ability of cities to use the Fair Housing Act to sue banks for discriminatory lending practices.

The high court grappled Tuesday, November 8, 2016 with a case that grew out of the subprime mortgage crisis.

A federal appeals court read the Fair Housing Act as giving Miami the right to sue Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. Miami says the banks targeted minorities for riskier loans, leading to foreclosures that cost the city property-tax revenue and forced it to spend more on police and fire services.

Some of the liberal justices indicated that they would vote to let the cases go forward.

“Everything about this complaint is about racial segregation, it seems to me,” Justice Elena Kagan said.

But Chief Justice

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Please support HOPE, Inc. on Give Miami Day 2016!

Give Miami Day is the largest annual giving event in the Southeast United States. Held online, Give Miami Day allows all individuals in our community to make a philanthropic impact by collectively supporting local nonprofit organizations. In 2015, Give Miami Day raised $7.1 million for more than 600 local nonprofits. Nearly 17,000 donors spanning the city, nation and globe participated in the multi-million dollar movement.  The Miami Foundation fundraises to provide a bonus gift on every donation made by donors, so dollars are stretched even further! In addition, there are $25,000 in cash prizes available throughout the day.

This year’s Give Miami Day will take place on November 17, 2016. 24 hours of giving begins at 12 a.m. on November 17 and ends at 12 a.m. on November 18,

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$2 million will go to Florida agencies that carry out investigations and test for illegal activities under the Fair Housing Act

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $38 million under its Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) to confront discriminatory housing practices.

Of that $38 million, $2 million will go to local Florida agencies that carry out investigations and test for illegal activities under the Fair Housing Act. An additional $300,000 is earmarked for education and outreach.

HUD provided competitive funding in three categories: Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI), Education and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI) and Fair Housing Organizations Initiative grants (FHOI). In Florida, no agency received an FHOI grant.

"Working closely with our fair housing partners on the ground, the investments we make today are a strong step forward to put an end to housing

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Advocates Applaud HUD Guidance on Housing Discrimination Over English Proficiency

Asian American and Pacific Islander civil rights groups welcomed new federal guidance issued last week on housing discrimination against people with limited proficiency in English.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said Thursday that housing providers and landlords could be violating the Fair Housing Act if they use someone's limited ability to read, speak, or write English as a pretext for providing unequal treatment based on race or national origin.

Nearly one-third of Asian Americans and nine percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have limited proficiency in English, according to the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA).

"Having a limited ability to speak English should never be a reason to be denied a home," Gustavo

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HUD announces new protections for victims of harassment and survivors of domestic violence

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is publishing a final rule formalizing legal standards under the Fair Housing Act for sexual and other forms of harassment in housing.  In addition, HUD is issuing Fair Housing Act guidance on local ‘nuisance ordinances’ that may lead to housing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence and other persons in need of emergency services.

HUD is issuing its Nuisance Guidance as the country marks the 22ndanniversary of the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). Through the VAWA 2013 reauthorization, protections have been expanded to nearly all HUD programs. Previously, only residents of public housing and Section 8 tenant-based and project-based programs were covered.

HUD’s final

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Housing discrimination, caught on tape…

Watch as a black man and a white man go undercover to expose real-estate agents who give preferential treatment based on race.  This short, simple video shows how discrimination can happen without any shouting, any name-calling, or any reason otherwise to know that it has occurred: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0zmL62C2GE

Instead of a “Keep Out” sign, housing discrimination usually comes hidden behind a friendly smile and a handshake. Maybe you’re told that you’ll get a call back about your moving into an apartment or buying a home (because the law covers rentals AND sales), but you just don't get that call.  Ever.  Or perhaps you’ve been clearly told that a home is unavailable to you, yet you learn that it’s actually still being advertised or listed.  Or somebody suggests "another

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Which housing discrimination is illegal? Know your rights!

Housing discrimination laws cover rentals AND sales.  You are protected in cases of illegal discrimination at the hands of a current or potential housing provider.

The amended federal Fair Housing Act prohibits, nationally, any discrimination in the sale, rental, lending, insurance, or advertising of housing on the basis of: Race · Color · National Origin · Religion · Disability · Sex · Familial Status (as in whether or not you have children)

Florida’s fair housing laws provide protection against discrimination on these additional bases: HIV Status

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United States Supreme Court to Consider City of Miami Lawsuit

In December of 2013, the City of Miami sued Bank of America, CitiGroup, and Wells Fargo in federal court, alleging that the banks violated the Fair Housing Act by specifically going after minorities with undesirable home loans. This practice, the lawsuits alleged, resulted in harm to the City in the forms of lost tax revenue and increased municipal costs in dealing with the problems associated with large numbers of foreclosed, sometimes-illegally occupied, largely neglected properties. At the time, the City of Miami had this to say: “While these banks were generating substantial revenue from the issuance of predatory mortgages, the City of Miami was losing significant revenue and incurring costs that have not been reimbursed.” These lawsuits were covered in the 56th Edition of HOPE

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$10 Million Settlement for Mortgage Lending Discrimination

Settlement Provides Over $10 Million in Monetary Relief Including Loan Subsidies and Compensation for Alleged Victims
Justice Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Reach Settlement with BancorpSouth Bank to Resolve Allegations of Mortgage Lending Discrimination

The Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a settlement agreement today to resolve allegations that BancorpSouth Bank violated the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) by using policies and practices that unlawfully discriminated against African Americans and other residents of predominantly minority communities in the Memphis, Tennessee, area, as well as parts of neighboring Mississippi and Arkansas.

The department and the CFPB alleged that

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USA Today: Discrimination Persists in Mortgage Lending and Housing

“The public also has a right to know the identity of the banks that discriminate. Why are they being protected?”


-Alexander Roberts, executive director, Community Housing Innovations

Discrimination persists in mortgage lending and housing in the Lower Hudson Valley, potentially making it harder for certain groups of people to find homes here, according to two reports issued this week.

The reports were released by Westchester Residential Opportunities, a nonprofit with offices in White Plains and Mount Vernon, and were based on investigations funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"We're very concerned that there's very limited affordable and accessible housing in Westchester," said Marlene Zarfes, WRO’s

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HOPE appears before the Third District Court of Appeal (DCA) for the State of Florida

In addition to hosting Fair Housing Month events in April 2016, HOPE appeared before the Third District Court of Appeal (DCA) for the State of Florida.  The issue before the court was whether the Florida Fair Housing Act requires exhaustion of administrative remedies with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) before an individual can file a complaint in state court.  On behalf of HOPE, attorney Matthew Dietz argued that victims of housing discrimination have the choice to file in an administrative tribunal or go directly to court.  Also participating in oral argument as amicus curiae (friend of the court) was Cheyanne Costilla, General Counsel for FCHR, who also argued against the administrative exhaustion requirement.  The Housing Umbrella Group of Florida Legal Services, Inc.

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HOPE Complainants with Disabilities Fight For Their Rights

On August 4, 2015, Richard and Patricia Rogala filed a fair housing complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Broward County Human Rights Section against Riverside North Apartment, Inc. HOPE represented the Rogalas in this complaint. The complaint alleged that the Riverside North board of directors denied the Rogalas’ reasonable accommodation request for an assigned parking space nearest to their apartment. Mr. Rogala requires such a parking space because his disability makes walking difficult. The federal Fair Housing Act and the Broward County Human Rights Code of Ordinances make it illegal to deny reasonable accommodation requests made by people with disabilities who need them.

The Rogalas entered into a conciliation agreement with

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Denying Housing Over Criminal Record May Be Discrimination, HUD Says

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is making it easier for people with criminal records to find housing.

In new guidance, released Monday, HUD tells landlords and home sellers that turning down tenants or buyers based on their criminal records may violate the Fair Housing Act.

People with criminal records aren't a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, and the guidance from HUD's general counsel says that in some cases, turning down an individual tenant because of his or her record can be legally justified.

But blanket policies of refusing to rent to anybody with a criminal record are de facto discrimination, the department says — because of the systemic disparities of the American criminal justice system.

For the official HUD guidance, please

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2016 Fair Housing Month Celebrations

HOPE is happy to announce the 2016 dates of our annual celebrations of April as National Fair Housing Month!  For our Broward County event, themed "Reaching New Heights," we will be gathering on Friday, April 1 at Signature Grand in Davie.  For more information, please call (954) 567-0545.  The Miami-Dade County event, themed "Taking it to the Streets," will be on Friday, April 22 at Jungle Island in Miami.  Please call (305) 651-4673 for more information.

Thank you; hope to see you there!

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Recent Work Includes Discrimination Lawsuits Against Design Place and Others

Recent investigations at Design Place near Miami’s Little Haiti and Design District neighborhoods, Creek Club near Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood, Nile Gardens near North Miami, and Aventura Harbor near North Miami Beach have shown just how prevalent housing discrimination still is...

Day in and day out, based out of offices near Miami Shores in Miami-Dade and Sunrise in Broward, HOPE’s staff is fighting discrimination by letting people know their rights, doing complaint intake, and giving referrals to services and resources. Sometimes, this work leads to investigations and lawsuits, and from the tail end of 2014 through the fall of 2015, HOPE filed four separate lawsuits against apartment owners for racial discrimination. But please note: housing discrimination is also

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Join us for an open conversation about discrimination!

On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, join HOPE and other entities for a general conversation about discrimination, open to all! This is an opportunity for the public to give and get perspective on discrimination of all kinds: what it looks like, what’s actually been happening, and what people can do about it. This event is being hosted from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at the LGBT Visitor Center at 1130 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.

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Remembering Shirley Taylor-Prakelt

The HOPE Fair Housing Center family mourns the loss of Shirley Taylor Prakelt. Those familiar with HOPE’s history know that the organization was created by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to Miami-Dade County. The County employee responsible for writing that grant proposal at the time was Shirley Taylor-Prakelt.

Shirley dedicated over 30 years at the local government level to implementing neighborhood revitalization, redevelopment programs, and a myriad of housing programs. She fought for the removal of discriminatory housing practices and furthering housing choice for all. A public servant with a vast knowledge of housing policy, Shirley served as a model for affordable housing advocates and professionals. We salute her life's

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HOPE Provides Grant to Create Wynwood Community Garden

In the Fall of 2015, HOPE partnered with FoodScape Designs to build the Edible Forest Garden that will be located at the Jose de Diego Middle School in Wynwood. FoodScape Designs is a Miami, Florida-based firm that has designed and created “highly productive ecological landscapes since 2010.” Two volunteer teachers and fifty students are bringing FoodScape’s vision to life in the plaza at the center of the middle school inside two large planters and two smaller, rectangular clearings.

The students will grow bananas, spinach, boniato, papaya, pigeon pea, garlic, cassava, blackberries, blueberries and such exotics as acerola, jujube, chaya, pitomba, grumichama, and cacao in their garden. The students have begun working by shoveling rich brown mulch into the planters.

The

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HOPE Appears at Broward Affordable Housing Task Force 2015 HOME Expo

The Broward Affordable Housing Task Force is made up of diverse housing industry professionals committed to promoting and supporting services and programs related to Broward residents attaining affordable housing.

One of the organization’s annual offerings is the Broward Affordable Housing Task Force HOME Expo. The October 2015 event was sponsored by 25 industry-related non-profits, banking institutions, real estate agencies, housing authorities, and local government entities.

In an effort to extend outreach throughout Broward County, the Task Force selects a different municipality to host the event each year. Sunrise, FL was selected for the 2015 HOME Expo. Over 200 people came out to the City of Sunrise Civic Center where they received valuable information from community

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HOPE Proud to Receive Multiple Community Awards

HOPE was honored to be recognized twice recently by area organizations! In October of 2015, HOPE received the Impact Award at the 4th Annual South Florida Community Development Corporation (SFCDC) Awards for Excellence in Community Development. SFCDC is a local nonprofit dedicated to building communities.

Then in November, HOPE received the Grand Champion Award at the Collective Empowerment Group (CEG) 10th Anniversary Dinner Celebration. CEG is a consortium of churches engaged in a broad range of programs pursuing social and economic justice for all.

 

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HOPE Files Federal Lawsuit for Racial Discrimination at Aventura Apartments (please click here to get to press release)

A federal lawsuit was filed today by Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. ("HOPE"), a private, not-for-profit fair housing organization, three African American testers, and African American housing seekers against the owners (Beverly Hills Club Apartments, LLC), property management company (United Property Management Group), property manager (Idlalio Rivero), and a leasing agent (Katerina Garciga) of Aventura Harbor Apartments for discriminating against African Americans.


 

Full press release: HOPE Press Release- Aventura Harbor (07116062) (07116076xB3B17)

 

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Thumbs up! HUD Settles Racial Discrimination Case Against Aqua Vista in North Miami Beach

On June 3 of this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced its having reached a settlement with Aqua Vista Townhomes Condominium Association in North Miami Beach. At the center of the case was President Daniella Adams, acting on behalf of the association board of directors for the property, which is located at 2046 NE 167th Street, North Miami Beach, FL 33162. Adams was alleged to have attempted to deny Black and Hispanic people the opportunity to live at the property through constant harassment and discriminatory remarks.

The settlement is the resolution of a complaint that was filed by HUD on July 12, 2013. In the complaint, it was alleged that Adams specifically targeted Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program participants who were Black and

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Major Victory Against Discriminatory Housing Management in North Dade

In June of 2014, HOPE, with residents of the 183/187 St. Apartments in Miami Gardens and 22 Ave. Apartments in Opa-Locka, filed a federal lawsuit against defendants Charter Realty, Miami Property Group, and manager Paulette Gopaul for discriminating against families with children, domestic violence victims, and persons with disabilities.

The defendants had unfair rules about children. Toys were to be disposed of without notice. Children could not play in common areas, always had to be with an adult (even on the playground), and had to use the pool during pool hours that were during school hours. Additionally, children had to be in their apartments by dark or 9:00 PM, with no exceptions.

The defendants also had rules for eviction due to threats, crimes in the apartment, violence, and

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HOPE Files HUD Complaint Against Fannie Mae

On May 13, 2015, HOPE, Inc. and 19 other organizations filed a HUD complaint against Fannie Mae, alleging that the government-sponsored enterprise marketed and maintained its foreclosures in neighborhoods of color in a significantly inferior manner compared to those it owned in predominantly White neighborhoods throughout the United States. The National Fair Housing Alliance, HOPE, and 18 other fair housing agencies investigated 2,106 properties owned by Fannie Mae around the United States, examining 39 types of marketing and maintenance deficiencies affecting curb appeal, safety, security, home value and marketability.

HOPE conducted investigations of sixty-four properties in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties from 2012 to 2014 that provided evidence for the complaint. Fannie Mae’s role

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2015 Fair Housing Month Events

This past April, HOPE hosted another pair of yearly celebrations for National Fair Housing Month – one in Broward County and one in Miami-Dade County.

2015 Broward County Fair Housing Month Celebration

April is Fair Housing Month, and as part of its fair housing awareness campaign, HOPE, with co-sponsors Broward County Finance & Community Development and Broward County Human Rights, offered a professional development training and luncheon for industry professionals on April 3. The event included relevant fair housing workshops, recognition and awards to fair housing advocates, and gains and strides enforcing the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 in Broward County.

The 2015 theme, “A Movement Toward Change,” signified deliberate local efforts to reach and teach the

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HOPE Sues Miami’s Creek Club & Opa-locka’s Nile Gardens Apartments for Racial Discrimination

On April 11, 1968, seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and Title VIII of the Act is known as the Fair Housing Act. For this reason, the month of April is National Fair Housing Month, and during April of this year, Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence (HOPE), Inc. continued the battle against discrimination.

The struggle for equality pushed on with HOPE’s federal lawsuit against Miami’s Creek Club Apartments, Inc. and Opa-locka’s Nile Gardens, LLC for discrimination. HOPE’s investigations showed that these housing providers specifically made units unavailable to African-Americans. This lawsuit is HOPE’s seventh in under three years, and discrimination against African-Americans was the

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HOPE Fair Housing Center

Hello and welcome to HOPE, Inc.! We fight housing discrimination to ensure your civil rights.  Hola y bienvenidos a HOPE, Inc.! Luchamos contra la discriminación de vivienda para garantizar sus derechos civiles.  Bonjour et bienvenue à HOPE, Inc! Nous battons discrimination dans le logement pour assurer vos droits civils. Are you a victim of discrimination?  Call today!  We cover all of Miami-Dade - (305) 651-4673, and Broward - (954) 567-0545. Hello and welcome to HOPE, Inc.! We fight housing discrimination to ensure your civil rights. Our agency is the only full-service non-profit fair housing agency servicing Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. HOPE does this through a three-tiered strategy of (1) Education and Outreach, (2) Private Enforcement, and (3) Intake and Counseling. Thanks to

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