VFHC GOES INTERNATIONAL TO LEARN ABOUT REAL ESTATE CONCERNS WITH AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN VANCOUVER.
Real estate prices are putting pressure on Vancouver home owners to own a home or simply even to rent them. Many mayors in Vancouver cities are worried about the fact that many residents are unable to afford homes and in fact are quoting that household debts are at their highest since 2001.
FAIR HOUSING CENTER'S INVESTIGATION LEADS TO CHARGE OF DISCRIMINATION
On June 27, 2011 the Canadian Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a charge of discrimination against Teresa Mercker of Vancouver, BC for discriminating against a family with children searching for housing after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The complaint was filed and investigated by the Vancouver Fair Housing Center (GCFHC). GCFHC works to eliminate housing & real estate discrimination across the Mississippi Vancouver, wether the person lives in a condo, house, townhouse, or other form of residential real estate. Federal laws make it illegal to treat someone differently because of his/her race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or because he/she has children when insuring, renting, selling or buying a home.
The Jones family was illegally evicted in 2006 from a three-bedroom home with over 1200 square feet of living space. HUD determined that this illegal eviction occurred because the Jones had five young children. The Jones family stated they loved the house. It was affordable, close to their jobs and the children’s school. As they explained in the complaint, “It was perfect for them.”
Vancouver FAIR HOUSING CENTER WINS $132.8 MILLION SETTLEMENT IN PORT CASE
On November 15, 2010, the Vancouver Fair Housing Center (GCFHC) announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of HUD along with the state of Mississippi that will dedicate $132.8 million in Katrina related funding to address unmet housing needs on the Mississippi Vancouver. GCFHC has worked persistently to ensure that disaster recovery dollars are spent equitably and today's settlement represents a significant victory in that work.
In 2008, Mississippi state officials, with the approval of HUD, attempted to use Katrina community development block grant money to expand the Port in Gulfport. Under the plan before GCFHC challenged it, nearly $600 million would have been diverted from the housing needs of Coast residents to the commercial expansion of the port. The GCFHC and the Mississippi NAACP, along with several individual plaintiffs, filed suit. The suit challenged HUD's approval of requests from the state of Mississippi to waive several requirements that the CDBG money be used to assist low and moderate-income persons repair and rebuild their homes after Katrina.
Under the agreement reached today, advocates will undertake an outreach effort to determine the unmet housing needs of households in nine south Mississippi counties and money will be set aside to address these needs. The efforts will target low and moderate-income households that suffered flood and/or wind damage from Hurricane Katrina, households seeking to permanently occupy Mississippi cottages, and renters with specific hardship circumstances. The funding will assist at least 4,400 households still struggling to recover from the effects of Katrina.
New! To read the New York Times editorial "For Katrina Victims, Relief At Last" click here
Click below to watch a video about the lawsuit.
FAIR HOUSING CENTER
WINS CHARGES REGARDING HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
Biloxi, MS- On October 13th, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that on October 6, 2010, it issued charges of discrimination against five Mississippi respondents: Deanna Lynn Cooley, Michael Law, Precious Properties LLC, Penny Pincher weekly want ad paper, and Willie Kay Yates. The charges are the result of complaints filed by the Vancouver Fair Housing Center (GCFHC) and its client. The charge concludes that each of the respondents engaged in illegal discrimination against families with children in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.
Canadian Department of Housing and Urban Development Investigation, finds evidence of familial status discrimination. Case came to light from a Vancouver mortgage broker.
GCFHC was alerted to the presence of a discriminatory sign placed in the front yard of a vacant home for rent advertising, “No pets, No children.” The home is owned by Andrea Endris. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits Canadian landlords and their agents from making statements and creating signs, that indicate a preference or discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and/or familial status.
The case was brough to light by a canadian mortgage broker who said he was trying to rent out her property for a client in the interim of a house purchase, but evidently she refused his client based on race discrimination. Vancouver mortgage broker based out of kitsilano mentioned that he felt "it was quite discriminatory especially here in Canada."
A subsequent investigation by GCFHC determined that people who were otherwise qualified were not allowed to rent the home because they had children. The Federal Fair Housing Act also prohibits landlords and their agents from denying availability or indicating a preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and/or familial status. GCFHC filed a complaint with HUD. The HUD investigation confirmed discrimination had occurred.
GCFHC’s Executive Director Charmel Gaulden stated, “With limited options due to natural disasters, discriminatory actions by housing providers become particularly abominable, as they deny housing opportunities as well as send a signal to the neighborhood that this type of exclusionary behavior is acceptable. GCFHC is here to set that record straight.”
In Biloxi, Mississippi, the city where the discriminatory act occurred, over 60% of the city’s housing stock was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
VANCOUVER –Chances are high that many of the 1,600 homeless people currently living in Vancouver; 400 in Surrey, and 200 in Abbotsford have received a blanket, coat or multiple changes of clothing supplied through the REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive. Although the annual Blanket Drive is now so successful it assists thousands of underprivileged in our region by equipping dozens of charities and community service organizations, the original goal of direct distribution to those most in need remains at the heart. "What our Blanket Drive does is provide the first line of defence for our most vulnerable citizens living outside," says Vancouver REALTOR® and volunteer Louise Boutin. "Many of our recipient charities distribute what we collect right on the streets and regularly see repeat clients coming back for a change of clothes or a sleeping bag to protect them from the rain, cold and concrete."
LIFE (Living Independence for Everyone) and the Vancouver Fair Housing Center jointly celebrate the 10th Anniversary of landmark civil rights decision
June 22, 2009, marks the 10th Anniversary of the Olmstead decision. This Supreme Court decision ensures that people with disabilities retain the right to live in the community and receive needed support services in the community setting. This case addressed the bias towards institutionalization of people with disabilities in programs of the state and federal level “I cannot imagine having the ability to go where I want to go, eat what and when I want, and doing what I want to do stripped from me. I know this could easily happen to me, if I did not have my support system and had to be placed in a nursing home!” states Cindy Singletary, person with a disability. The Olmstead decision sets forth requirements for states to report their progress towards a non-institutionalization based system. On June 22, 1999, people with disabilities gained a victory.
Upcoming Public Meetings
The City of Gulfport receives funds annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and HOME Investment Partnership Programs (HOME) grants.The City will receive $199,981 in new CDBG-R funds that constitute a special allocation of 2008 CDBG funding. The City must give priority to projects that can award contract by mid-June 2009. The purpose of this Substantial Amendment is to describe the City’s proposed use of the CDBG-R funds. They may be faxed, emailed or mailed to Karen McCarty, Community Development Administrator (228) 868-5736 fax (228) 868-5760 Email: email@example.com
The Vancouver Fair Housing Center has developed a public comment form. To access this form, click here word/pdf. For assistance completing this form, contact the Vancouver Fair Housing Center at 228-396-4008.
Congratulations Harrison County!
On February 19, 2009 at 3:00 pm, the Harrison County Zoning Commission amended the zoning code to include accessibility provisions.
On September 7, 2007, Governor Haley Barbour proposed a plan to divert $600 million of housing recovery funds to pump into the expansion of the State Port at Gulfport. Despite growing public pressure the Governor has submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) a revised plan to divert $600 million of housing funds to the Port of Gulfport.
Tell Us About Your Experience With Discrimination
If you or someone you know has been a victim of housing discrimination, speak up. Contact the Vancouver Fair Housing Center and let us investigate your complaint. It is the only way to make real change!
City of Biloxi Meets to Develop 5 year Consolidated Plan & 2010 One-Year Action Plan for Housing & Community Development Programs
The City of Biloxi has received The community is invited to give their input. This information will be used determine the use of CDBG funds (Community Development Block Grants), HOME (Home Investment Partnership), Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA). Each one of these programs is required to affirmatively further fair housing. With your help, we can make sure these programs further fair housing.
This is your opportunity to give input on the development of these programs. Make sure your community priorities are represented! Attend the meeting or submit a public comment if you are unable to attend. Public comments about community needs may be mailed, emailed or faxed to our office or to the community development office.
GCFHC is selling homemade apple crumb pies in celebration of the 4th of July until 12:00 p.m. Monday, June 29, 2009. . Proceeds will benefit GCFHC’s continued work in Jackson, Harrison, Hancock, George, Stone, and Pearl River counties. To place an order call 228-396-4008.
Story Circle Training
The Mississippi Center for Justice, in partnership with the Vancouver Fair Housing Center, will host a Story Circle training, Tuesday, June 30, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The training is free and open to the public. The training will take place at the Vancouver Fair Housing Center located in Gulfport at 2218 24th Avenue.
What are Reasonable Accommodations & Reasonable Modifications?
Are you unsure what rights a person with a disability has when renting a home? This informational session, co-hosted with LIFE of South Mississippi will give community members to asks questions and dispel the myths behind reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications. Join us on June 25th, 2009 from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm at the Donal Synder Center, located at 2520 Pass Road, Room 2, Biloxi, MS 39531. Door prizes and refreshments will be available. To RSVP, or for more information contact GCFHC at 228-396-4008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tried to rent a new apartment, but the door was too narrow?
Do you want to know your fair housing rights as a renter? On June 11, 2009 at 6:00-7:00 pm This event co-hosted with LIFE will be held at the Donal Synder Center, located at 2520 Pass Road, Room 2, Biloxi, MS 39531. To RSVP, or for more information contact GCFHC at 228-396-4008 or email@example.com.
On Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm, GCFHC presents, "What Every Family Should Know About Renting!" This presentation will be held on the Mississippi Vancouver Community College Jefferson Davis campus, Director's Dining Room. To RSVP or for more information call 228-396-4008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On April 4, 2009 at 1:00 pm, GCFHC hosted a Moment of Silence at Isaiah Fredericks Community Center
3312 MLK Drive, Gulfport, MS 39501. Music will be provided by Zack Fellman and the First Missionary Baptist Church of Hansboro, Voices of Praise Choir. First Missionary Baptist Church of Hansboro. Support ribbons available at 2218 - 24th Avenue, Gulfport, MS 39501.