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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April 2015 Fair Housing Conference and Training

The Idaho Fair Housing Forum, U.S. Attorney’s Office, HUD and Intermountain Fair Housing Council hosted the 2015 Idaho Fair Housing Conference April 14 and 152015, in Boise, Idaho. Thanks to Idaho AHMA and Phil Sievers for capturing the presentations on video.

Photos from the event are below (photo credit: Erik Kingston)

IMG_0450 IMG_0451 IMG_0462

To view each speaker, click on the corresponding link (speaker presentations are also available for download and printing, links below the video sections):

Day 1 of the conference was aimed primarily towards housing providers and property management professionals. Featured speakers included HUD Region X Administrator Bill Block, Idaho’s U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson and civil rights defense attorney David Penny. They and other presenters focused on the Fair Housing Act, Support Animals and Reasonable Accommodations, Housing Provider Compliance and Defense, and Limited English Proficiency, among other topics.

Day 2 of the conference featured information more useful to municipalities, counties, building and planning professionals, and elected officials.

Day 1 – Tuesday, April 14

Fair Housing Basics: Sarah Fisher, Idaho Human Rights Commission Senior Investigator. http://youtu.be/EaztZFAX0g8

Current Federal Cases: Wendy Olson, U.S. Attorney for Idaho. http://youtu.be/sMJBEdr_Wto

Keynote Speaker: Bill Block, HUD Regional Administrator for Region X. http://youtu.be/NhgZDGpDwBM

Language Assistance Compliance: Gary Hanes, Gary E. Hanes and Associates. http://youtu.be/C670GNmoJnY

Consumers with Criminal History and Fair Housing: Wendy Olson, U.S. Attorney for Idaho. http://youtu.be/ek-6eIIMjok

Fair Housing Compliance from a Housing Provider Attorney: Dave Penny, Attorney, Cosho Humphry, LLP. http://youtu.be/YOAEQZzGdG4

Service Animals and Reasonable Accommodation: Zoe Ann Olson, Executive Director, Intermountain Fair Housing Council. http://youtu.be/F5_zk8yAI-E

Day 2 – Wednesday, April 15

Where Municipal Activities and Fair Housing Intersect: Jerome Mapp; Erik Kingston; Jennifer Yost. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUxB9Ppm3TA

Section 3 Compliance: Kristina Miller, HUD Office of FHEO. http://youtu.be/8_MuXV5z1ws

Language Assistance Compliance: Gary Hanes, Gary E. Hanes and Associates. http://youtu.be/ny4QfeZjqpo

Understand Your CC&Rs in Light of the Fair Housing Act: Sarah Anderson, Attorney, Vial Fotheringham, LLP. http://youtu.be/j0ZFd4Q6WN4

ADA and 504 Compliance in Housing and Communities: Amy Howe, Assistant U.S. Attorney for Idaho and Dana Gover, NW ADA Center-Idaho.  http://youtu.be/X5VOw7ndcDI

Tuesday Presentations for Download

LEP_AHMA_Apr 2015_Presentation version | Wendy Olson DOJ 2015

April 2015 RAR SA April FH Presentation | Housing and Criminal History Final

LANDLORD BEST PRACTICES | LEP_AHMA_Apr 2015_Presentation version

Sarah General FH Training March 2015

Wednesday Presentations for Download

*Boise Day 2 Agenda

2015 FH Training_Where Municipal Activities and Fair Housing Intersect

Needs-Assessment_Housing-Plan-9_12

Fair Housing conference w-ADA2015 | LEP_govt_Apr 2015_Presentation version

Section 3 Presentation 4_2015 | Fair Housing Training 2015-final

HOA and CCRs [Compatibility Mode]

ADA and 504 Compliance Resources for Housing and Communities

General resources (updated as links are provided.)

Free 2015 Idaho Fair Housing Training Events

Fair Housing Workshop – Boise

The Idaho Fair Housing Forum U.S. Attorney’s Office, HUD and Intermountain Fair Housing Council are hosting the 2015 Idaho Fair Housing Conference on April 14, 2015, in Boise.  Featuring HUD Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Gustavo Velasquez and Idaho’s U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, the conference will focus on the Fair Housing Act, Support Animals and Reasonable Accommodations and Limited English Proficiency Compliance Requirements.  It will run from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Mountain Time

To register: http://hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.addRegisterEvent&eventId=2341&update=N

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing / Section 3

– BOISE

The Idaho Fair Housing Forum U.S. Attorney’s Office, HUD and Intermountain Fair Housing Council are hosting the 2015 Idaho Workshop on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) and HUD Section 3 on April 15, 2015, in Boise.  In addition to AFFH and Section 3, the workshop will touch on ADA Compliance, HOAs, Fair Housing and Limited English Proficiency Compliance Requirements and Best Practices.  It will run from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Mountain Time.

To register: http://hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.addRegisterEvent&eventId=2348&update=N

Fair Housing Workshop – Moscow

The city of Moscow and the Intermountain Fair Housing Council are hosting a workshop on the Fair Housing Act, Support Animals and Reasonable Accommodations and Limited English Proficiency Compliance Requirements.  It is scheduled for April 9, 2015, from 12:30 PM to 5 PM Pacific Time.

To register: http://www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEvent&eventId=2354&update=N

Fair Housing Workshop – Lewiston:

The city of Lewiston and the Intermountain Fair Housing Council are hosting a workshop on the Fair Housing Act, Support Animals and Reasonable Accommodations and Limited English Proficiency Compliance Requirements.  It is scheduled for April 10, 2015, from 12:30 PM to 5 PM Pacific Time.

To register: http://www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEvent&eventId=2355&update=N

Fair Housing Workshop – Idaho Falls

The cities of Idaho Falls, Pocatello and the Intermountain Fair Housing Council are hosting a workshop on the Fair Housing Act, Support Animals and Reasonable Accommodations and Limited English Proficiency Compliance Requirements.  It is scheduled for May 6, 2015, from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Mountain Time

To register: http://www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEvent&eventId=2356&update=N

For more information regarding any of these events, please contact Brian Dale at 208-334-1088 ext. 3005 or  or Zoe Ann Olson of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council at 208-383-0695 or .

Please also contact us for any reasonable accommodation needed for the event.

DOJ close to $850K settlement in Ohio discrimination case

Massillon, Ohio Landlords John and Mary Ruth have agreed to an $850,000 settlement in a case alleging that the Ruths had discriminated against (and had instructed employees to discriminate against) African Americans and families with children.

Click here to read the full release