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Louisiana House of Representatives Votes Against Victims of Domestic Violence

Posted on 29. May, 2014 by in 2014 News, Blog, News, Participate (for sidebar), Policy Statements, Policy Updates

On Thursday, May 29, the Louisiana House of Representatives failed to pass Senate Bill 233 by a vote of 34-63.  SB233 would have provided housing protections to victims of domestic violence.   The bill passed unanimously through a Senate Committee, the Senate Floor, and a House Committee.

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) joined 42 organizations statewide in supporting the leadership of Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Weston Broome to promote better housing options for victims of domestic violence without imposing an undue burden on landlords.  Representative Helena Moreno carried the bill in the House as part of a larger package of successful legislation aimed at enhancing protections for victims of domestic violence.  Speaker Pro Tem Leger and Rep Moreno demonstrated tremendous leadership in skillfully managing over an hour of floor debate. Read More…

FAQ on Senate Bill 233

Posted on 22. May, 2014 by in Blog, News, Policy Updates, Uncategorized

Q&A on SB233

Q: Does SB 233 create a liability for landlords that evict abusers?

A: No.

Q: What if the abuser is found to be innocent?

A: Under SB 233, a perpetrator of domestic violence may lawfully be evicted from housing and barred from returning regardless of whether he has been charged with or convicted of crime relating to the abuse. SB233 simply provides that a victim of crime is not also evicted because of a perpetrator’s actions. Similarly, landlords can legally evict tenants who are charged but not yet convicted of drug crimes. Read More…

Policy Analyst Position Open

Posted on 18. Feb, 2014 by in 2014 News, Blog, News, Participate (for sidebar)

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center has an opening for a Policy Analyst. The Policy Analyst will support the organization’s legislative and regulatory work at the local, state and federal levels on a variety of housing related and civil rights issues. The position requires strong analytic and writing abilities. Read More…

Help Keep Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordable

Posted on 10. Feb, 2014 by in Actions, Blog, Education Actions, Homeownership Protection Actions, Participate (for sidebar), Policy Updates

You’ve probably heard about changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) under a bill entitled the Biggert-Waters Act. The changes raise rates to reflect true flood risk, and were intended to make the program more financially sustainable.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Read More…

Federal Housing Finance Agency Welcomes New Director

Posted on 11. Dec, 2013 by in Blog, Participate (for sidebar), Policy Updates, Uncategorized

Mel WattThe Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center welcomes news that the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to confirm Mel Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, to head the federal agency that oversees mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Watt, who has demonstrated his commitment to homeowners and renters alike through his work on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee, will play a significant role in the nation’s housing market with direct control over trillions in housing assets. Watt will face important decisions during his tenure, such as whether to put a debt forgiveness program in place for struggling homeowners and whether to fund the National Housing Trust Fund.

The newly confirmed director was one of the first Members of Congress to speak out against predatory, subprime mortgage lending, and led the push for legislation to require fairness in housing financing over short-term profiteering.

Flood Insurance Reform Bill Drops in the U.S. House & Senate

Posted on 30. Oct, 2013 by in Blog, Participate (for sidebar)

Yesterday a bipartisan group of U.S. House and Senate members introduced a bill to delay increases to flood insurance premiums by four years to create time for additional study.  The bill’s introduction was timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, and is entitled the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act”.

The bill counteracts changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that have received much attention across the Gulf Coast, as homeowners and business owners alike prepare to be priced out of their homes.  The legislation may have a tough road ahead in an already divided Congress, because many Members believe that the new NFIP rate structure, set up under 2012 legislation called the Biggert Waters Act, is necessary to make the program financially sound.  Read More…

Transforming a Legacy: Proposals to Improve New Orleans Properties

Posted on 16. Sep, 2013 by in Blog, Participate (for sidebar), Policy Updates

The majority of New Orleans residents live in rental housing, making it the largest slice of our city’s housing stock.  Without taking on this subset of properties, we will never truly address neighborhood blight. If a community’s health, vitality, and prosperity can be measured by the condition of its properties, New Orleans may be poised to transform a legacy of substandard housing.

The City should regularly inspect rental units to ensure that owners maintain their properties in habitable, safe and healthy conditions.  A proactive inspection-driven process is more effective than a complaint-driven process that relies on the City’s Office of Code Enforcement to respond. An inspection-driven process insures that every property meets basic code standards. Property owners would pay a minimal fee for inspections thus providing funding and staffing for the program. Read More…

Grim Foreclosure Rates in New Orleans, but There is Hope

Posted on 16. Aug, 2013 by in Blog, Participate (for sidebar), Policy Updates

Yesterday New Orleans City Business released a powerful article about the increasing foreclosure rate in the metro area. The piece depicts a timely but grim picture of the New Orleans real estate market.  In truth, it’s even worse than New Orleans City Business and its data source, Realtytrac, note because a larger than average percentage of Louisiana homes are owned outright, free and clear.

See, Realtytrac is a national firm that collects real estate related data. Realtytrac creates a rate of foreclosure based on the number of housing units.  For example, the article notes that, “St. Tammany Parish, with 173 filings, had the highest rate in the New Orleans metro area at one in every 547 housing units receiving a filing.” Read More…

We want your thoughts: Fair Lending and Foreclosure Prevention Briefing and Community Forum

Posted on 31. Jul, 2013 by in Blog

GNOFHAC and Louisiana State Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Weston Broome are pleased to invite all members of the public to attend a free briefing and community forum about fair lending and foreclosure prevention issues on Saturday, August 3rd from 10am-1pm.

The forum comes on the heels of a landmark agreement between GNOFHAC and Wells Fargo on the maintenance of real estate owned (REO) properties in communities of color. The agreement is the result of a federal housing discrimination complaint alleging that Wells Fargo’s bank-owned properties in white areas were much better maintained and marketed by Wells Fargo than REO homes in African-American and Latino neighborhoods.   As a result of the agreement, GNOFHAC will administer a $1.4 million fund to increase homeownership and neighborhood stabilization in communities of color in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.

The forum will cover updates to state and federal foreclosure prevention laws, as well as solicit community feedback on how the $1.4 million fund can best be used to build, rather than strip, equity in area homes.

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The Details are as follow:

When: August 3rd, 2013. 10am-1pm

Where: Interdenominational Faith Assembly Church

5045 Greenwell Street,  Baton Rouge, LA 70805.

Community members are encouraged to come and share their ideas on how the fund can enhance neighborhoods.  Information about housing counseling and foreclosure prevention will also be available.

It’s been a big week in Washington, and we wanted to update you on some substantial victories that have been years in the making!

Posted on 19. Jul, 2013 by in Blog, Participate (for sidebar), Policy Updates

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Today HUD took essential steps to realize Dr. King’s work to desegregate America and advance housing opportunity by issuing a regulation that ties federal funding to meeting those civil rights goals.  The new HUD regulation centers on the duty to affirmatively further fair housing and works to ensure housing is connected to good schools, safe streets, jobs, grocery stores, healthcare and other important factors.

As U.S. Secretary of HUD Shaun Donovan noted earlier this week, “Make no mistake: this is a big deal.  With the HUD budget alone, we are talking about billions of dollars.  And as you know, decades ago, these funds were used to support discrimination. Now, they will be used to expand opportunity and bring communities closer to the American Dream.” Read More…