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Heart of Lubbock housing to help families find affordable homes
     (LUBBOCK, Texas, Oct. 24, 2014) -- A group of concerned citizens has created a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which will help working families find an affordable place to live.
     Heart of Lubbock Housing, Inc. hopes to fill a gap in the range of local housing options available.
     The group is currently seeking donations to purchase rundown properties, refurbish them with the help of volunteers, and rent them to people who might not be able to qualify for a good quality place otherwise.
     Rent will be at fair market rates, not subsidized by government or charitable funds.
     “Many people in our community work hard, but can't get approved to rent or buy a nice house,”says Steve Rogers, chair of the organization. He explains that poor decisions in their past may mean that people have negative credit or criminal history on their records, which causes them to be rejected by many landlords. FULL STORY at kcbd.com

Richmond apartment developers accused of discrimination against disabled
     (RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 23, 2014) -- Developers of a new apartment community in Richmond are accused of discriminating against the disabled. A video on the internet appears to be at the center of a federal lawsuit against owners of The Shockoe Valley View Apartments.
     The video shows conditions in and around the building, located off Cedar Street. It has a pretty nice view, but developers are now facing this lawsuit for things like steps with no way for a person in a wheelchair to enter the apartment.
     The complex has now been slapped with a lawsuit from the National Fair Housing Alliance and Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) for alleged discrimination against people with disabilities.
     HOME president Heather Krislip said, “This property was quickly identified as one of the worst cases that we had ever seen.” FULL STORY at nbc12.com

Landlord relents - won't evict veteran and his dog
     (EAST GRAND FORKS, M.N., Oct. 23, 2014) -- The dust appears to have settled tonight as an Iraq War Veteran and his landlord have reached common ground. Earlier this week, Valley News Live reported that Jessie Johnson was served an eviction notice for having a service dog in his apartment. Johnson suffers from a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, and his dog has confirmation papers through a doctor, the American Disabilities Association and the Veterans Administration.
     Valley News Live looked into the story after Johnson contacted our Whistleblower Hotline. Today we learned that property owners are now allowing Johnson and his family to stay.
     In a statement released today, Green Acres property owner Judd Stauss said they were evicting Jessie Johnson for not signing the appropriate paperwork for the service dog. Now that the paperwork is complete, Johnson will no longer be evicted. FULL STORY at valleynewslive.com

Neighbors clash over apartments, Day station for homeless
     (LAKEVIEW TERRACE, Vt., Oct. 22, 2014) -- Nobody was mincing words at a neighborhood meeting last week at the Burlington police station. Lakeview Terrace resident Mannie Lionni told fellow architect Bob Duncan that the latter's design plans to expand a nearby building represented "an old-fashioned, from my point of view, discredited model of development."
     Roughly 40 people came out to discuss the Committee on Temporary Shelter's proposal to add 14 apartments and a day station to its administrative offices at the corner of North Avenue and North Street.
     It was the fourth meeting the nonprofit has held with neighbors since last November, when COTS first announced its intention to expand at the south end of Lakeview Terrace. And, like past discussions, this one didn't go smoothly.
     COTS, which serves the region's homeless population, has for years operated a day station at 179 South Winooski Avenue, where people could make phone calls, use computers and take classes. Flooding in 2012 displaced the program to its current, temporary location on Elmwood Avenue. COTs was just halfway into a 30-year lease, but executive director Rita Markley decided against returning to the old space, because she couldn't get flood insurance for the property. Late last year, she announced plans to build the day station — along with affordable housing units — at COTS HQ. FULL STORY at sevendaysvt.com

It's time to end Exclusionary Lending
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2014) -- More than 40 years ago, United States courts began striking down what became known as exclusionary zoning — municipal zoning ordinances that required large lots for homes, thereby driving up the cost of housing and excluding low- and moderate-income families and people of color from residing in those communities.
     Today, mortgage lenders have put in place excessively restrictive approval standards that have all but shut the doors to conventional mortgage lending to African-Americans and Latinos. This could be termed exclusionary lending, and it's time for regulators to define and prohibit it.
     Five years into the economic recovery, lending to African-Americans and Latinos is at the lowest levels in nearly 15 years. Meanwhile, the population of African-Americans and Latinos in the U.S. has grown by nearly 50% during that time, according to our analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. FULL STORY at americanbanker.com

Housing director denies allegations
     (LEBANON, Tenn., Oct. 22, 2014) -- Lebanon Housing Authority Director Patrick Johnson said allegations made against him by a former Lebanon Housing Authority board member are totally false.
     Kevin Davenport presented the allegations to the Lebanon Housing Authority board of directors in a resignation letter, citing disagreements with Johnson as a factor in his resignation.
     Davenport said in the letter he received complaints from more than 70 percent of the housing authority’s employees against Johnson, along with complaints from housing residents and community members during his time on the board. FULL STORY at lebanondemocrat.com

Why this puppy landed a Marine veteran with an eviction notice
     (EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn., Oct. 21, 2014) -- We’ve seen military veterans wrongly kicked out of restaurants and other public places because of their service dogs, which they are legally allowed to be there. A new incident might take the discrimination to the next level though: a disabled Marine is threatened with eviction for his four-legged friend.
     Jessie Johnson of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, told KVLY-TV his landlord gave his family three days to move out once he learned about 9-week-old Phoenix, who will help Johnson with anxiety and PTSD.
     “Guess what?” Larry Struass, owner the Green Acres apartment building where Johnson and his family lives, was recorded saying, according to the news station. “I’m going to give you a three day eviction, I’m going to go to court and I’ll win.” FULL STORY at theblaze.com

Elderly and low income Jeffersonville neighbors caught in zoning fight
     (LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 15, 2014) -- Elderly and low income neighbors in Jeffersonville are caught in the middle of a zoning fight that could force them out of their home.
     Martha Russelburg is a 66-year-old widow living on $1,100 a month social security. She survives sharing a house with 10 other people, called Riverside Meadows. "I feel like this is my family," said Russelburg.
     Darrenda Stepro is a member of that family, a neighbor who shares Russelburg's love of the residence. "It's convenient and nice and I love it," said Stepro. "It's everything I can expect it to be." These neighbors now worry about eviction, because the property owner moved them in illegally. "I'd probably be living under a bridge," Stepro said.
     The city of Jeffersonville rejected Riverside Meadows' zoning permit to run an assisted living home. The owners previously ran a similar facility that closed after the building had problems with the heat. They transferred all the residents who didn't require medical care to Riverside Meadows. FULL STORY at wdrb.com

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