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Feds charge Oswego landlord for not allowing tenant to have dog for emotional support
     (WASHINGTON, May 05, 2016) -- An Oswego landlord has been charged with housing discrimination after refusing to allow a tenant to move in with a service dog for emotional support, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Thursday.
     HUD charged Hillside Park Real Estate in Oswego with violating the Fair Housing Act, claiming the company denied or limited housing to a person with a disability who requires the use of a service animal.
     Federal law requires property owners to waive "no pet" policies in cases involving assistance or service animals. FULL STORY at syracuse.com

Housing, lending discrimination persist in area
     (NEW YORK, May 05, 2016) -- 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 fair-housing director. "By doing this study, what we're seeing is (that) discrimination still exists among many protected classes including race, familial status — which means people with children — disability and source of income." FULL STORY at lohud.com

HUD charges White Plain, New York, Co-op with housing discrimination for refusing to sell unit to persons with disabilities
     (NEW YORK, May 05, 2016) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging a White Plains, New York, co-op with housing discrimination for refusing to grant an exception to its policies that would allow a person with disabilities to buy a unit there.
     HUD’s Office of Regional Counsel for New England, which has jurisdiction over the case, issued the Charge of Discrimination on April 26.Read the charge. The Fair Housing Act protects residents with disabilities who request reasonable accommodations in policies or practices.
     Additionally, the law makes it illegal to make housing unavailable to any person because of a disability. “Persons with disabilities depend on reasonable accommodations to level the playing field when it comes to finding a place to call home. Refusing to provide them denies access to housing and it violates the law,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take action when owners and homeowner associations fail to meet their obligations under the Fair Housing Act.” FULL STORY at realestaterama.com

Justice Department reaches $475,000 settlement with Beaumont, Texas, to resolve disability discrimination in housing lawsuit
     (WASHINGTON, May 05, 2016) -- The Justice Department today announced that the city of Beaumont, Texas, has agreed to pay $475,000 and change its zoning and land use practices to resolve a lawsuit alleging that it discriminated against persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities who sought to live in small group homes in the city’s residential neighborhoods. The consent decree must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The lawsuit, filed on May 26, 2015, alleged that the city violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it imposed a one-half mile spacing rule that prohibited many small group homes from operating in Beaumont.
     The suit further sought to prohibit the city from imposing fire code requirements that exceeded those imposed by the state of Texas as part of its certification and funding of such homes. These restrictions prohibited numerous persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities from living in Beaumont and resulted in the institutionalization in a nursing home of a woman who was forced to move out of her home. Although the city alleged that its restrictions were justified by a Texas statute, the state of Texas later clarified in a statement it submitted to the court during the litigation that neither the spacing requirement nor the heightened fire code requirements were required by Texas law. Under the terms of the consent decree, the city will allow small group homes to operate in any residential district and will not subject such homes to fire code requirements that exceed the state’s requirements for certification of such homes.
     The city will also pay $435,000 in monetary damages to 11 individuals with disabilities, their family members and companion care providers who were subject to the city’s discriminatory code enforcement practices. The city will also pay $15,000 to the United States as a civil penalty and $25,000 to Disability Rights Texas, the organization that represents the individuals who filed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) complaints and intervened in the United States’ lawsuit. FULL STORY at texas.realestaterama.com

Neighbors upset over discriminatory sign outside home
     (SOUTHPORT, Ind., May 04, 2016) -- Homeowners are upset after a sign popped up in a Southport yard racially targeting their immigrant neighbors.
     It was in front of a vacant home that’s for sale at 7406 Earl Court. The sign read, “No More Chin,” referencing the Chin community of Burma that lives on the south side.
     Since the home is vacant, neighbors aren’t sure who put the sign up. Finding the culprit thought isn’t their priority; they’re making sure the Chin community knows it’s welcome. FULL STORY at wishtv.com

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