Forum partners welcome HUD training

Boise City Council member Lisa Sanchez welcomed a roomful of housing providers, city and state staff, and local nonprofits on April 26 to a fair housing workshop presented by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Attendance was estimated at well over 200, with in-person and individuals watching via webcast throughout Idaho. This is the last workshop during April, where many different groups recognized the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Fair Housing Act.


Featured presenter: HUD’s Kristina Miller, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

HUD’s Deputy Northwest Regional Administrator Michael Look kicked off the day by thanking attendees for their time and interest before outlining the history and meaning of the Fair Housing Act, its roots in the U.S. Constitution, and acknowledging those who made it possible. He introduced HUD’s last remaining Idaho field office representative, Senior Management Analyst Brian Dale

HUD reps Kristina Miller, Brian Dale, and Michael Look

Mr. Look emphasized that the economic opportunities made possible through housing choice and mobility go beyond the typical civil rights focus of fair housing. Where we live determines our access to essential community services, social capital and basic amenities. He acknowledged the rights and challenges of housing providers, and his hope that through ongoing training and greater awareness, they could all take steps to avoid violations and associated costs.*

Kristina Miller with the Seattle Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity conducted the day’s training, starting with an overview of fair housing basics, protected classes, prohibited actions , disparate impact and the three-step analysis of policies or practices to determine compliance. She also outlined seven fair housing design and construction standards, and the importance of accommodating our aging population—which applies to everyone.

The main point of fair housing is ‘equal access’ for all.

She also touched on recent HUD guidance on criminal history; that is, if the property involved is covered under the Fair Housing Act, they must maintain and follow a clear criminal background policy that otherwise treats all protected classes the same consideration. A *three-step analysis determines whether a policy has discriminatory effect:

  1. Does the policy result in a discriminatory effect on members of a protected class?
  2. Does the policy achieve a specific, legitimate nondisriminatory interest to the provider?
  3. If yes to #2, is there a less discriminatory alternative to achieve the same effect?

Unjustifiable policies

  • A blanket ban on criminal activity or an arrest record; unless there is a conviction, anyone could be banned without legitimate cause, thus it would be unjustifiable.
  • A blanket ban on all convictions that fails to differentiate between a legitimate threat to life, safety or property or no threat may also be unjustifiable.

View or download the presentation as a .pdf — Fair-Housing-Act-for-4-26-18-presentations

Check back for links to the webcast version.

Everyone wants a bag like Brian’s vintage FHF tote! We’ll get some made and let you how to get yours.

Idaho Transportation Draft Plan Public Open Houses

Idaho Transportation Department

You are invited to review the draft Idaho Transportation Plan and share ideas that will help shape your community and future developments. See more details here.

Each of the Idaho Transportation Department’s six districts will feature an open house to review the DRAFT version of the statewide Public Transportation Plan. This plan address public transportation in Idaho and sets goals and strategies for the next five years for the Idaho Transportation Department’s Public Transportation Office as well as the public transportation providers.

Contact: 208-334-8822 or *protected email*

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Why Economic Developers Hope That “Fair Housing Still Has a Chance Under Trump”

The most recent State of Idaho Assessment of Fair Housing takes an ‘Economic Opportunity Approach’ to what is traditionally perceived as a civil rights issue affecting minority populations and other protected classes. An excerpt follows:

“This study approaches the analysis of fair housing issues through an “opportunity lens.” This was done to:

  • Incorporate recent research that links long‐term economic gains of cities and states to advancing economic growth of residents,
  • Incorporate the latest legal developments around fair housing, and
  • Most importantly, identify where the Grantees can best intervene to improve the economic opportunities of residents and, ultimately the fiscal health, of non‐entitlement communities.”

In other words, the report shows that the overall economic health and stability of a city or state depend on the economic opportunities of all residents. When everyone can access safe, quality housing within their household budget and close to employment or other services, they have more time, energy and income to invest in neighborhoods and communities. At the same time, they are less dependent on public assistance or other social services.

Housing choice (the right to determine where we live and can afford) and stability are essential components in the development of social capital, sometimes defined as “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.”

When individuals and families feel part of a neighborhood or community, they are better able to form trusting relationships and cultivate connections that can lead to opportunities—whether in employment, education, health care or personal growth and development. From the perspective of those who stress personal responsibility and self-reliance, housing choice (aka, ‘Fair Housing’) should be seen as the best investment, hands down.

For an informative and riveting history of the origin and reason for the Fair Housing Act, this 2015 podcast from This American Life and ProPublica is one of the best introductions around. For those short on time, Act Two is particularly fascinating.

The Slate article linked below contemplates the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing  (AFFH) rule and how it may fare moving forward under a new administration. The AFFH rule is intended to implement the core mission of the Fair Housing Act—to increase access to economic and social opportunities through something called housing choice. Where we live determines access to essential services and resources: clean air and water, healthy food, education, employment, police and fire protection, banking and lending, health care—even things like culture and recreation.

“An important rule, enacted late in the Obama administration, is just starting to knock down barriers in some of America’s most segregated places.”

The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (or AFFH) rule, promulgated by President Barack Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2015, marked the first forward momentum for the Fair Housing Act in decades. The rule required jurisdictions that receive federal housing funding to not only document barriers to integration and opportunity, but to detail—and prioritize—policies to eradicate them.

Read more here: Fair Housing Still Has a Chance Under Trump

 

April 28 Idaho Fair Housing A to Z Workshop—Boise, ID

Free Fair Housing Workshop

This is FREE training hosted by the Idaho Fair Housing Forum. Consumers, housing providers, managers, realtors, lenders, housing advocates, government personnel and officials—anyone interested in learning about:

  • Fair Housing Act
  • Support Animals
  • Reasonable Accommodations
  • Limited English Proficiency Compliance
  • Best Practices for addressing Harassment and Hate
  • Criminal Background
  • Affordable Housing/NIMBYism
  • Occupancy Polices
  • Rules Regarding Children
  • Affirmative Marketing, and more

Learn about your rights and obligations, obtain helpful fair housing materials and resources, and avoid costly litigation! Presenters include Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Housing Provider Attorney David Penny and other community presenters. Times listed are Mountain Time.

Location. Boise City Hall/Council Chambers, 150 North Capitol Boulevard,  Boise, ID 83702

Time. Doors and on-site registration open at 7:30am MST; program begins at 8am MST

Parking is available at various locations downtown.

Registration. To register for on-site attendance in Boise on Friday April 28, click here.

Webcast. To follow via live webcast beginning at 8am MST,  click here.

*For more information contact Brian Dale at 208-334-1338 vog.d1534273543uh@el1534273543ad.na1534273543irb1534273543 or Zoe Ann Olson of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council at 208-383-0695 or gro.o1534273543hadic1534273543hfi@n1534273543osloz1534273543

Please note.  if your e-mail address is long, be sure to include your phone number with your registration so we can contact you with any updates.

Presentation materials. The following materials were provided by Intermountain Fair Housing Council:

*This is an area of confusion for some. See more information here.