Free Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Fair Housing Training

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights & MDCR Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing along with the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan would like to invite you to a FREE Fair Housing Training for those in the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Communities and the Organizations that Provide Services to these communities.

Advanced registration is required – please see this form from the MDCR for instructions.

The training will be on Wednesday, February 26th from 1 to 4 pm at SPARK East Innovation Center located at 215 W. Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Sign Language Interpreters will be provided. If additional accommodations will be needed, please let us know.

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March Housing Advocates Training Registration Now Open

Housing Advocates Training
March 11 & 12, 2020, Ypsilanti

This two-day training is an excellent resource for anyone working as an advocate (clients/consumers also welcome). Housing Advocates Training (HAT) is a full day, Welfare Policy Seminar (WPS) is an optional three-hour session. Trainers include staff and attorneys from the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan, the Michigan Poverty Law Program, and Legal Services of South Central Michigan. Registration is required.
 

HAT is designed to help social service professionals gain a working knowledge of fair housing law, landlord/tenant law, and housing subsidy programs. By the end of the training attendees will know:

• how to recognize signs of housing discrimination;
• how to advocate for a victim of housing discrimination;
• the services offered by fair housing organizations;
• the basis of the landlord/tenant relationship;
• how to advocate for clients in need of housing repairs;
• how the eviction process works;
• how to advocate for clients in an eviction or lockout;
• the services offered by Legal Services programs;
• the basic characteristics of housing subsidy programs; and
• the rights and responsibilities of tenants in subsidized housing programs.

WPS will focus on the Department of Human Service’s most popular programs, including cash assistance, food assistance, state disability assistance and Medicaid. There will also be a brief overview of Social Security programs, including SSI, RSDI and Medicare. The session will include explanations of these programs, including covered services and eligibility requirements, as well as advocacy strategies. Please bring your questions and cases, discussion is welcome. [Note: WPS is one three-hour session.]

Upcoming Housing Advocates Training and Welfare Policy Seminar:

Washtenaw County 2020
Ypsilanti – HAT Informational Flyer 2020

  • Wednesday, March 11th, for HAT9-5 pm (fee). Continental breakfast and lunch included.
  • Thursday, March 12th, for WPS, 9 am -12 pm (no cost)

To register: please fill out the registration form via Google Forms here. You can pay online (using PayPal) or send in a check made out to Fair Housing Center, PO BOX 7825, Ann Arbor MI 48107. Registration fees go up after February 26th.

New Training Opportunity! Housing Advocates Training Plus (HAT+) will be held on May 6th in Washtenaw County. You must have previously attended HAT in the past three years to register for HAT+. Registration materials will be available in March. Call or email for more information.

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FHC Complaint Resolutions Open Up Thousands of Housing Opportunities for Families with Children

We are very pleased to announce the resolution of two complaints based on familial status discrimination, in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act. These resolutions ensure a future with many more housing opportunities with families with children.

Both complaints were filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and alleged that the respondents engaged in systemic discrimination against families with children across properties in multiple states by enforcing overly-restrictive occupancy policies of no more than two people per bedroom regardless of a unit’s square footageThrough the use of testing, both investigations determined that most floor plans were large enough under state and local law to accommodate more occupants than the “two person per bedroom” rule enforced by the agents. HUD did not make a determination on the merits of the allegations in either case.

The first resolution was from a complaint filed against Management Resources Development, Inc. (MRD), in partnership the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. MRD is a property management and construction company with its headquarters in East Lansing that owns and/or manages over 9,000 properties in 10 states.

This summer we entered into a conciliation agreement in which MRD agreed to pay $45,000 for both Fair Housing Centers’ costs and damages, change their occupancy policy so that it is no more restrictive than the applicable local occupancy codes, and train their employees and agents on fair housing laws and responsibilities, along with other terms to ensure compliance with fair housing laws.

Read the entire FHC MRD Press Release
WHMI 93.5 Local Coverage
Livingston Daily Local Coverage 

The second resolution was from a complaint filed in partnership with the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit, The Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan, and the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan against Monarch Investment & Management Group. Monarch is a company with over 43,000 apartments in twenty states, including 36 properties in Michigan.

In September, the parties entered into a conciliation agreement with terms much like the MRD case, but with a total of $130,000 for the Michigan Fair Housing Centers’ costs and damages.

Read the entire FHC Monarch Press Release

We know these settlements will make a huge difference in the lives of families searching for a place to live. Thank you for continuing to help us make Michigan home for all people. 

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Fall 2019 Newsletter

By now you should have received our latest newsletter at your home or business. If you haven’t*, or you’d like to see the digital color version, you can view it online right now. Highlights include information on recently filed cases, disability rights success stories, photos from our 6th Annual Fair Housing Breakfast, and more.

*Didn’t get a printed copy and want one? Have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you at info@fhcmichigan.org

snapshot of part of the 2019 printed newsletter.
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MSU Tiny Rabbit Case Resolved

Civil Rights Demands Change at MSU Sorority

According to the complaint taken by the FHC in the fall of 2017, although Kayla Hicks’ need for an emotional support animal was well documented, East Lansing sorority Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) refused to allow her to live with her emotional support animal, a two-pound Netherland Dwarf Rabbit named Sebastian.

The FHC-aided lawsuit was settled in September 2019 for an undisclosed amount. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) was also a part of the case and their charge was also resolved.  

According to the settlement agreement with the MDCR, “fraternity and sorority houses…are not excluded from the [Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act] provisions prohibiting discrimination based on disability or any other protected classifications.” AOII has agreed to create written policies with regard to assistance animals, and accommodate members with disabilities at all AOII sorority houses in Michigan. 

Read the official FHC Press Release

MSU sorority settlement reached,” The State News, 11/20/2019

MSU sorority settles lawsuit over banished therapy rabbit,” Detroit Free Press, 11/20/2019

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