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Sexual Harassment In Housing Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 4, 2020

DOJ Increases Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing During COVID-19 Pandemic

BOISE – U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis is asking anyone who has witnessed or experienced sexual harassment by a landlord, property manager, maintenance worker, or anyone with control over housing to report that conduct to the Department of Justice.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted the ability of many people to pay rent on time and has increased housing insecurity. The Department of Justice has heard reports of housing providers trying to exploit the crisis to sexually harass tenants. Sexual harassment in housing is illegal, and the Department of Justice stands ready to investigate such allegations and pursue enforcement actions where appropriate.

“While most landlords respond with understanding and care, trying to work with their tenants to weather the crisis, there are national reports of other landlords who have demanded sexual favors to defer rent payments. Although unaware of any reports locally, I emphasize this behavior will not be tolerated at any time, especially now,” said U.S. Attorney Davis. “The Department of Justice has not hesitated to intervene when clear misconduct occurs.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho will work closely with state and local partners to identify incidents of sexual harassment in housing.

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is an effort to combat sexual harassment in housing led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. The goal of the Initiative is to address sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers or other people who have control over housing.

Launched in 2017, the Initiative has filed lawsuits across the county alleging a pattern or practice of sexual harassment in housing and recovered millions of dollars in damages for harassment victims. The Justice Department’s investigations frequently uncover sexual harassment that has been ongoing for years. Many individuals do not know that being sexually harassed by a housing provider can violate federal law or that the Department of Justice may be able to help.

The Department of Justice, through the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Act.

The Department encourages anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in housing, or knows someone who has, to contact the Civil Rights Division by calling (844) 380-6178 or emailing .

Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may also contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho by calling (208) 334-1211 or emailing .

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URGENT: Need Masks and PPE for People with Disabilities and Caregivers

During the COVID19 pandemic and mask shortage it’s amazing to see the army of seamstresses, quilters makers and businesses stepping up to help others. Support for front-line health care professionals—doctors and nurses caring for patients—makes everyone proud.

Other groups are in desperate need of masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and we need to keep them out of our hospitals at all costs. Persons with disability, seniors and anyone recovering from illness or injury—and their personal assistants—are at high risk for COVID19 and can’t compete for PPE.

In-home personal care professionals assist multiple individuals each day—and few if any have access to masks or other PPE right now.

They need your help—desperately.


How You Can Help

Contact Living Independence Network Corporation (LINC)

Phone: 208-336-3335 | email:

Donated masks will be distributed to high-risk individuals and providers. We need to flatten the curve among this population to support doctors and nurses. Some funds available for materials.

Spread the word! Downloadable flier: PPE4PWD

This project is coordinated among:

Thank you!


“Currently, I have three personal assistants coming in and out of my home who have no protective masks. Also, my friend picks up groceries and medical supplies for me and my other friends with disabilities who have compromised health conditions. He also has a comprised health condition. None of us can find masks”

—Dana Gover, Northwest ADA Center-Idaho

 

COVID19: Resources and information

COVID-19 Buttons and Badges | CDCWhat you need to know about the COVID19 pandemic in Idaho. How it impacts renters and homeowners, fair housing rights and responsibilities, and where to find official information on keeping yourself, your family and your community safe during the pandemic.

We’re all in this together.

Idaho Housing and Finance Association , 565 W. Myrtle Street ...

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) has information for renters and owners using programs or services it administers.

 

The Intermountain Fair Housing Council has created an on-line informational resource for tenants impacted by the COVID19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn and layoffs. View their resource page here.

Idaho-based Gary E. Hanes and Associates is collecting links to COVID19 in multiple languages. View their resource page here.

International Rescue Committee - WikipediaThe International Rescue Committee (IRC) has prepared information on the COVID19 outbreak for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) individuals. See their informational page here.

 

Office of Emergency ManagementIdaho’s Governor Brad Little declared a State of Extreme Emergency and issued a 21-day  Stay At Home Order, closing down all non-essential businesses and services to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Read more at the state’s official COVID19 page.

 

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is helping coordinate information and resource availability to respond to the CODIV19 outbreak. Homeless populations are among the most vulnerable to community spread and lack the ability to ‘stay at home.’ See their informational page here.

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition is also mobilizing resources and sharing strategies to address increasing housing challenges caused by the convergence of a historic housing crisis and the COVID19 pandemic. View their informational page here.

ADA Tax Credits for Small Businesses

TAX INCENTIVES are available to encourage compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This chart includes the Federal tax incentives and encourages you to inquire whether your state offers similar incentives. Unfortunately, many business owners and employers are unaware that these incentives exist. Make sure your business takes advantage of these valuable incentives!”

https://adata.org/factsheet/quicktips-tax

See also Ramp Up Idaho