2021 APA Idaho Conference: Analysis of Impediments Session

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) and Idaho Commerce are working with Root Policy Research on the state of Idaho 2021 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (AI), and several Idaho entitlement communities have contracted with Resource Consultants to conduct AI studies at the local level.

As part of efforts to raise awareness of the rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act, IHFA proposed a session for this year’s APA Idaho conference to help planning professionals and other officials understand how the AI process works, and what it means to Idahoans, local government and taxpayers, and to community and economic stability.

Analysis of Impediments APA ID

Idaho Fair Housing Month Activities

“Fair Housing Month is a time to recommit to our nation’s obligation to ensure that everyone has equal access to safe, affordable housing,” —HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge.

Idaho Fair Housing Forum members have long coordinated training and special events during Fair Housing Month, and 2021 is no different!

April 5 – Racism in Land Use discussing history, maps and redlining, restrictive deeds and CC&Rs, and FHA protections (hosted by the University of Idaho and the Intermountain Fair Housing Council). Learn more or register here.

April 6 – Basics of Fair Housing.* Attorney David Penny with Tomlinson & Associates provides an overview of the Fair Act and its implications for housing professionals in this online, 75-minute presentation.

April 13 – Fair Housing: Real Estate Focus.* Attorney David Penny with Tomlinson & Associates presents fair housing information for Real Estate Professionals in this online, 75-minute presentation.

April 20 – Fair Housing for Transitional Housing and Shelter Providers.* Attorney Eric Steven of Eric Steven Law Office in Spokane describes the unique challenges and best practices for those assisting unhoused populations.

April 27 – Limited English Proficiency Basics for Federally Assisted Programs and Services.* Gary Hanes of Gary E. Hanes & Associates, LLC will outline what managers of federally assisted programs—particularly assisted housing—should consider as they work to address clients, tenants or stakeholders with limited English proficiency, or LEP.


View IHFA’s 2021 Fair Housing Videos here.*

Request IHFA Fair Housing Outreach Materials here.*

See HUD’s 2021 Fair Housing Month statements here.

*The work that provided the basis for these publications and training was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

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.

New Wyoming law bans misrepresenting service dogs

There’s an elephant in the room, and it’s wearing a bedazzled service animal vest.

As companies pop up to market official-looking ‘service animal’ vests, some people are abusing laws created to allow reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

Both disability rights and ‘pet‘ advocates know this is wrong, and fraud is offensive to many individuals and groups, including housing providers.

Here comes the disclaimer:

The fact that some people abuse this law does not mean you should deny a request for reasonable accommodation.

A wise civil rights defense attorney (who represents landlords and property managers) once said that the safest response to any reasonable accommodation request is the following:

“We consider all requests for reasonable accommodation.” 

Considering a request is neither granting nor denying it; it simply means what it says, that you (and preferably your own fair housing or civil rights defense attorney) will evaluate the request in a timely fashion before making a determination. A hasty or poorly informed decision can be costly.

Denying an accommodation can also be devastating to the person who really needs it.

For someone with a hearing or visual impairment, a trained service animal can mean the difference between life and death or independence and isolation. For someone with depression, anxiety or PTSD, an emotional support animal can offer a reason to get out of bed or the ability to face the world. There is an important distinction between these terms, but either can be part of a legitimate reasonable accommodation request.

Learn more about them below:

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals: Where are they allowed and under what conditions?

Real-life scenario. Several years ago, an Idaho landlord called a local organization to ask for a definition of a service animal after a prospective tenant requested an accommodation. He was referred to the ADA definition, which states that the animal is ‘specifically trained to perform a task for the person with a disability.’ He decided that, in his opinion, the animal hadn’t received any special training, and subsequently denied the request.

What he didn’t understand was that the request was for a support animal; because he failed to make a distinction, he asked for and received a definition for a service animal. Although the definitions for emotional support animals were on the same page, he limited his focus to service animals.

And yes, he received a fair housing complaint.

Fraud in this area makes life difficult for everyone, including landlords and property managers, retailers, restaurants and transportation providers. Some people play fast and loose with the law, because abusers know that in most cases they will go unchallenged, and it’s a simple matter to find a ‘third-party professional’ to sign a letter stating the need to take a beloved pet anywhere and everywhere.

Some advocates don’t like to talk about fraud, but denying its existence only further frustrates housing providers—many of whom work hard to comply with fair housing law and simply want to be treated fairly in return.

For the past 20 years, this topic has dominated fair housing training, conferences and court cases in Idaho and elsewhere. Most recently this spring it has been covered by the Intermountain Fair Housing Council and at the Idaho Apartment Association trade show, during a panel discussion titled “Fair Housing Horror Stories.”

The challenge facing everyone—housing providers, advocates and persons living with disability—is to agree on policies that are fair, accountable and defensible. Even service dog owners want to see tougher restrictions. As seen in the following article, they aren’t alone in their frustration over abuse of the law, no matter how rare it might be.

Excerpt from the  via US News:

On July 1, Wyoming will become the 16th state in the nation to enact laws relating to misrepresenting service animals. House Bill 114 makes doing so a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine up to $750.

“This bill was made in an effort to try to protect those that truly do need the protection, and try to detour those who don’t,” said Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, the bill’s lead sponsor.

To read the full article, click link below:

New Wyoming Law Bans Misrepresenting Service Dogs