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Settlement in Mount Holly, New Jersey

Posted on 25. Nov, 2013 by in Blog, Education News, Participate (for sidebar)

Mount HollyThe parties to a decade-long battle over the destruction of a diverse community in New Jersey recently announced a settlement that will prevent the likely disruption of established civil rights law.  The November settlement of Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. resolved Mount Holly residents’ decade long fight to save their community.  Over the course of the past year, the battle had escalated to the Supreme Court of the United States, and had the potential to decide the course of the future of American fair housing law.

In the early 2000s, residents of Mount Holly, New Jersey sued the Township of Mount Holly to challenge its plans to redevelop their community.  The Township’s plans called for taking by eminent domain of individual properties, and the subsequent total demolition of residents’ homes.  The plan was to build new, more expensive housing that would be out of financial reach of the community’s long-time residents.

Read More…

60 More Classrooms to Receive a Copy of The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House, Thanks to You!

Posted on 07. Nov, 2013 by in Blog, Education News, Participate (for sidebar)

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Thanks to all of you that helped make Fair Housing Five Month a success!

Throughout October, GNOFHAC asked friends, family, and local businesses to support the youth Fair Housing Five initiative by sponsoring a classroom of their choice with a copy of The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House. Because of supporters like you, GNOFHAC will be delivering over 60 copies of the original children’s book to schools throughout the greater New Orleans area as well as the country this month! Now, more kids will learn about fair housing, the Civil Rights movement, and the importance of open communities! Read More…

It’s all about the kids.

Posted on 28. Oct, 2013 by in Blog, Education News, Participate (for sidebar)

It’s Fair Housing Five Month and we can’t complete this celebration without highlighting the brilliant students that participate in our Fair Housing Five workshops, read The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House, and go on to create incredible maps, commercials, posters, and more to educate their community and friends about housing discrimination!

These workshops wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our community partners and friends. Please consider sponsoring a classroom or community center of your choice, and we’ll deliver the book for you!

Below are photos and videos of the great students, workshops, and artwork from past Fair Housing Five workshops. Read More…

Educators are the real stars of the Fair Housing Five!

Posted on 16. Oct, 2013 by in Blog, Education News, Participate (for sidebar)

Since 2010, GNOFHAC has taught about civil rights to hundreds of students in the greater New Orleans area using GNOFHAC’s original children’s book, The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House! This would not have been possible without our partnerships with educators, schools, and community centers that collaborated with us in the creation of the initiative, and welcomed us into their classrooms or community centers to facilitate meaningful workshops, despite their busy schedules.

Among the many educators and advocates that have collaborated with us, here are a few of our Fair Housing Five stars:

MBMs. Monique Butler, Audubon Charter School

Ms. Butler has been an integral part of the creation and implementation of the Fair Housing Five youth initiative since 2010. Ms. Butler, an elementary school educator at Audubon Charter School in New Orleans, assisted GNOFHAC staff in forming youth workshops that are engaging, meaningful, age appropriate, and ignite social change.  She assisted GNOFHAC staff in developing the children’s book as well as the workshops through a series of focus groups and workshops with students. Ms. Butler has since welcomed GNOFHAC staff into her classroom each school year for a three-day workshop with her awesome students and their parents and guardians. Read More…

October is Fair Housing Five Month!

Posted on 07. Oct, 2013 by in Blog, Education News, Events, Participate (for sidebar)

FHFThis week marks the start of Fair Housing Five Month, a time to celebrate fair housing youth education with GNOFHAC’s original children’s book, The Fair Housing Five and the Haunted House.  The book is about a group of diverse kids that discover a landlord in their neighborhood is discriminating and work together to take action to ensure all are welcome in their community.  It is illustrated in vibrant full-color by local artist Sharika Mahdi-Neville. Read More…

Fair Housing Center Commemorates Fair Housing Month 2013 with Free Educational Events

Posted on 01. Apr, 2013 by in 2013 News, Blog, Education News, News, Participate (for sidebar)

On April 1, 2013, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) announced a series of educational events to occur throughout the month in commemoration of National Fair Housing Month.  Each event is free and open to the public, though registration may be required.  For more details about GNOFHAC’s celebration of Fair Housing Month 2013, please visit www.gnofairhousing.org or call (504)596-2100.

April 2013 events include: Read More…

Fair Housing Center Announces Keynote Speaker Lani Guinier for 6th Annual Fit for King Celebration

Posted on 03. Jan, 2013 by in 2013 News, Blog, Education News, News, Participate (for sidebar)

On January 3, 2013, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) announced that Lani Guinier, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, will serve as keynote speaker at the Center’s 6th Annual Fit for King Celebration on January 18, 2013.  Professor Guinier will address conference attendees during a keynote luncheon at the Lindy Boggs International Conference Center.  Details of the conference agenda are available here.  Fit for King Celebration 2013 is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  There will be a cocktail reception fundraiser immediately following the conference- all funds raised will go to support the programs of GNOFHAC. Read More…

Federal Judge Grants Motion for Summary Judgment in Housing Discrimination Case Against St. Bernard Parish

Posted on 19. Oct, 2012 by in 2012 News, Education News, St. Bernard Parish

On October 17, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Plaintiffs Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) and Provident Realty Advisors, in a long running housing discrimination case against St. Bernard Parish.  The decision signals that the Plaintiffs won the case on the merits, and that there is no need to go to trial.  Further, the court’s order grants Plaintiffs’ latest motion to hold St. Bernard Parish in contempt of court and awards Plaintiffs reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

The most recent ruling came in response to a motion for summary judgment in the case filed by GNOFHAC and Provident Realty Advisors in July of this year.  According to the motion, “the conduct at issue in the relevant time period involved issuing repeated cease and desist orders, withholding the release of critical municipal services, refusing to provide feedback and information on construction specifications, refusing to issue renewed building permits, and delaying construction by seeking to enforce inapplicable codes.”  The conduct took place throughout 2011.

Also on October 17, 2012, the court adopted a Magistrate Judge’s recommendation to award plaintiffs GNOFHAC and Provident Realty Advisors over $500,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs in relation to three contempt rulings issued against St. Bernard Parish in 2011.  The motions covered behavior that the Parish engaged in throughout the course of 2011 aimed at preventing the development of mixed income multi-family housing in St. Bernard.

St. Bernard Parish’s repeated actions to delay construction on Provident Realty Advisors’ four multi-family housing developments in St. Bernard Parish at issue in the summary judgment motion were a continuation of a long string of race-based attempts to block multi-family housing developments in the Parish.  Racial discrimination has been a clear and consistent theme throughout the course of GNOFHAC’s multi-year litigation against St. Bernard Parish, during which the Parish has repeatedly been held in contempt for violating a 2008 Consent Order.

GNOFHAC Executive Director James Perry comments, “After years of protracted litigation, we were pleased to have witnessed new homes coming on line in St. Bernard Parish through the opening of the Provident apartments.  This week’s orders from the court signal that the Parish will be held responsible for its illegal, discriminatory actions.  Meanwhile, we remain committed to ensuring equal housing opportunity throughout our region.”

Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC represented GNOFHAC in these matters.

Click here for a copy of GNOFHAC’s motion for summary judgment described in this release.

Click here for Judge Helen Berrigan’s order granting the motion for summary judgment.

Click here for Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan’s Report and Recommendations regarding attorneys’ fees and costs.

Click here for Judge Berrigan’s order adopting Judge Shushan’s Recommendations regarding attorneys’ fees and costs

Click here for a comprehensive timeline of GNOFHAC’s St. Bernard Parish litigation

Fair Housing Center Wins Prize in International Competition for Innovative Youth Programs

Posted on 14. Jun, 2012 by in 2012 News, Education News, News

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) is pleased to announce that its “Equal Opportunity Game” youth workshop has been selected as a winner of the Ashoka Changemakers “Activating Empathy” competition.  The purpose of the “Activating Empathy” competition is to identify innovative projects that build empathy and leadership skills in young people.  GNOFHAC’s game and fair housing curriculum was one of 628 entries from 74 countries, and is among four projects selected to receive the “Mattel Prize for Play.”

The Equal Opportunity Game is an interactive board game for students in grades four through eight that demonstrates the impact of housing discrimination on a family’s access to resources and opportunity.  GNOFHAC staff developed the game in partnership with local educators in 2010, and have shared the curriculum with dozens of schools and advocacy organizations and hundreds of young people in Louisiana, as well as Mobile, AL, and Grand Rapids, MI.  The Equal Opportunity Game is part of a larger set of curricular materials GNOFHAC has developed for youth, including its children’s book The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House, in an effort to provide information about fair housing to families and educate a new generation of leaders about civil rights and equity.  More information is available at www.fairhousingfive.org.

GNOFHAC Executive Director James Perry comments, “We are honored to have been selected as a winner of the ‘Activating Empathy’ competition.  We look forward to the opportunity to share our board game and curricula with more educators, advocates, and young people across the country.”

Download the press release here.

Fair Housing Center Receives Prestigious Award for Contribution to Fair Housing Movement

Posted on 06. Jun, 2011 by in 2011 News, Education News, Enforcement News, News

On June 6, 2011 the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) awarded the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) its prestigious Chairman’s Award for GNOFHAC’s contribution to the Fair Housing Movement. NFHA Board Chair Jim McCarthy presented the award to GNOFHAC staff before an assembled audience of fair housing advocates from around the country at the 20th annual National Fair Housing Conference in Washington, DC.

In discussing NFHA’s choice of GNOFHAC as its 2011 award recipient, McCarthy mentioned both GNOFHAC’s aggressive enforcement of federal fair housing laws and its creative outreach initiatives that recognize the connections between housing and access to quality-oflife indicators like education, healthcare and economic opportunity.

NFHA cited GNOFHAC’s ongoing litigation with St. Bernard Parish and the Road Home program, as well as its children’s book, The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House, and its recent forum on fair housing and food justice.

GNOFHAC Executive Director James Perry used the opportunity to urge HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who was in attendance, to force his department to locate the funds needed to fix the racially discriminatory Road Home program.  

Perry comments, “We are greatly honored to receive NFHA’s Chairman’s Award in recognition of our service to the Fair Housing Movement. We remain committed to the eradication of housing discrimination in partnership with NFHA and our colleagues around the country.”