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 Observes the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act

Image result for 50th anniversary, fair housing

During Fair Housing Month (April), Idaho stakeholders can take advantage of several scheduled fair housing events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Fair Housing Act. Events are listed below in chronological order:


Still time to register for HUD Workshop!

What Fair Housing Celebration & Workshop / HUD

When Thursday, April 26th, 8:30 am to 4 pm—

Where Boise City Hall, 150 N. Capitol Blvd, 3rd Floor

Registration and information here


What Idaho Apartment Association Fair Housing Event

When Wednesday, April 11th

Where Boise Centre East. 4th Floor

Help us celebrate 50 years of the Fair Housing Act of 1968! Renew your commitment to the importance of providing equal housing opportunity for all. Join 500 industry professionals as we learn, network and celebrate!


What IFHC’s Vision Summit

When Wednesday, April 18th

Where Boise Centre East, 4th Floor


Join us as we learn together and embody our vision for the future of housing! Featuring workshops and panels on housing, access and intersectionality. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

Three Focal Tracks:
—Disability Rights
—Abundant Housing
—From Rights to Reality

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 or Zoe Ann Olson of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council at 208-383-0695 or

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.

Housing Toolbox for Western Policymakers (Mostly Idaho)

(Created for housing and community stakeholders by Erik Kingston, PCED, IHFA’s Housing Resources Coordinator)

The housing ecosystem: economics and equity. In general, an ecosystem is defined as ‘…a complex network or interconnected system.” A healthy housing ecosystem—much like a healthy forest or market—contains a diverse mix of complementary forms that fill different niches. Monocultures are more vulnerable to changing conditions; both farmers and investors know the risks of relying on a single crop or stock.

We need housing for the diverse mix of people in a community, from producers to consumers, and across the spectrum of skills, needs and abilities.

Expanding housing choice has benefits far beyond fair housing compliance and civil rights; housing diversity is equally important for community and economic development strategies. Housing types and price points that reflect the needs and incomes of all community residents support a more stable labor force and educational system, reduce social costs of poverty, and lead to economic prosperity for all of us.

In other words, a functioning ecosystem.

Conversely, housing speculation and inflation that drive prices up and tenants out—assisted and magnified by NIMBY opposition to new residential development or density—create externalized costs that are shifted to local taxpayers, employers, consumers and communities. And creating vast low-density subdivisions separated from activity, retail and employment centers expands dependence on cars, shifting public investments from people and placemaking to roads and parking infrastructure.

And a lack of housing within reach of workers drives demand for wage increases and leads to business contraction and overall inflation, which impact all residents.

“Housing that is affordable to a range of incomes serves as a perpetual wage subsidy to local employers.” — Dr. Peter Dreier

Supply and demand. Strictly speaking, the laws of supply and demand don’t apply equally to housing and things like oil or corn. Standard commodity prices can respond to market shifts in hours, days or weeks, while housing prices change over years—owing to the lag time involved in building and permitting enough inventory to change demand for tenants. But just like oil and corn, housing relies on taxpayer supports to make it seem affordable. And that boils down to policy priorities.

How to make housing ‘affordable’

  1. Increase wages indefinitely to subsidize real estate speculation—this in turn fuels overall inflation in goods and services
  2. Increase taxes to subsidize employer and consumer costs—through housing choice vouchers and development incentives that keep rents low for essential workers (who do not earn a living wage)
  3. Eliminate low-density zoning and policies that exclude the distribution of diverse housing types and price points throughout our neighborhoods and community.Allowing modest density by right means local developers are able to create small-footprint, modest density residential without the delays and cost overruns created by NIMBY. That allows essential workers to ‘rent local,’ which keeps their wages and incomes circulating in the local economy.

Beyond these approaches, conditioning permits on some lasting community benefit—such as deed-restricted housing—serves diverse incomes. But when neighbors consistently reject distributed residential density and diversity (competition for tenants), landlords can increase rents unchecked.

Smaller local developers proposing medium density or mixed-income housing operate on slim margins; they are often unable to overcome NIMBY-driven delays and hurdles. This leaves most housing development to larger (often out-of-state) corporate developers with significant capacity and legal teams to drive the housing market.

Beyond speculation and NIMBY, the net costs of housing are influenced by transportation, energy, land, construction, regulatory and financing factors. In some rural Idaho communities, workers must often commute long distances to find housing within their budget, while the cost to heat or cool inefficient housing can exceed rent in some cases. So we created the ‘T.R.U.V. (Transportation + Rent + Utilities +Visitability) Index’ to reflect real-world cost considerations.

Location, location, location. Housing costs are driven by land costs, but the value of land is dependent on its proximity to publicly-subsidized infrastructure, water, assets and resources. A building site in a roadless area without services or water is less than a site near libraries, schools, health care and high-speed broadband. Learn more here.

One could also make the argument that the value of a neighborhood reflects the people who make that neighborhood livable, safe, provisioned and maintained. In that way, essential workers provide a subsidy to the value of our homes and community when they sacrifice time, health, safety, and opportunity by commuting long distances or living in substandard, overcrowded, or unhealthy housing—or are unhoused.

We hope to update and expand tools and resources below to be more useful to policy makers and housing stakeholders. These data can help inform a larger statewide housing needs assessment and resource allocation process. See also “What cities and counties should know about fair housing for additional information from the 2022 Analysis of Impediments.

Resources and references

Assessing Housing Markets Needs

County data sets for demographics, poverty and housing/transportation cost burden.

*The contractor for the 2014 version based ‘cost-burden’ data on the American Community Survey, while the contractor for the 2018 release used cost-burden estimates from HAMFI and CHAS data, a subset of the ACS estimate.

Redlining, Exclusionary Zoning and Density Considerations

NEW! Top code reform priorities for the housing crisis 03.28.2023

A widespread shortage of affordable housing is causing local jurisdictions to amend their land-use regulations. Here’s a list of 10 highly effective reforms, with notes on why they are needed.

“…redlining as a practice was technically barred with the passage of the Fair Housing Act and Housing and Urban Development Acts of 1968. Yet even after redlining was made illegal, policies such as residential zoning laws and the development of a credit score continued inequality in housing markets.” —Urban Institute: Assessing the legacies of historic redlining

Other online housing resources

Idaho Analysis of Impediments / Assessment of Fair Housing

U.S. housing market: impressions, impacts and implications

Housing Market Challenges

Affordability matters

Housing and Transportation: location-based costs

Tiny Houses and Personal Shelters: implications and opportunities for housing, planning and economic development professionals


2023 Presentations

2022 Presentations

2021 Presentations

2020 Presentations

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute

Public Subsidy to Private Equity: Measuring the Social Costs of Housing Speculation

Small Towns, Big Change: Civic Engagement and Rural Resilience | WeCAN team

APA Idaho Chapter

2019 Presentations

10/2019 APA Idaho Chapter – Twin Falls, ID

The Rural Housing & Homelessness Puzzle

Twilight Zoning

7/2019 NW Community Development Institute

2019 Housing as a Second Language

6/2019 Association of Idaho Cities

Housing and Community_Planning for the Future

21st Century Barnraising: Community crowd investing

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute

Housing and Community_Designing for the Future

2017 Presentations

10/2017 Idaho Chapter/APA Conference Presentations

Ghost Cities

Sandpoint Short Term Rentals

Links to resources:

2017 NW Community Development Institute

Housing as a Second Language (2017 update)

Related stories and links

2017 Association of Idaho Cities Conference

Housing Markets: Essential Trends and Strategies

2016 Materials

10/2016 Idaho Chapter/APA Conference Presentations

Next Steps for Small-Footprint Housing


Communities for Life: Aging-in-Place


The Changing Face of Fair Housing: Assessment of Fair Housing


Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (presentation by BBC Research and Consulting)

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

2016 NW CDI Course—Third Year: Housing as a Second Language

2015 Presentations