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Fair Housing Center Seeks Repeal of St. Bernard Multi-Family Moratorium

Posted on 18. Dec, 2008 by in 2008 News, Enforcement News, News, St. Bernard Parish

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) filed a motion today seeking enforcement of a Consent Order entered on February 27, 2008, in Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center v. St. Bernard Parish et al, Case No. 06-7185, United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. GNOFHAC’s motion alleges that St. Bernard Parish’s recently enacted moratorium on multi-family housing violates the Consent Order, which enjoins the Parish from violating the Fair Housing Act and other civil rights laws that prohibit race discrimination.

12-18-08 Read the press release here

Lawsuit goes to court. Read the Times Picayune press coverage here

Fair Housing and Civil Rights Groups File Federal Lawsuit in Post-Katrina Housing Discrimination Case

Posted on 12. Nov, 2008 by in 2008 News, Enforcement News, Homeownership Protection News, News, Road Home

Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA (November 12, 2008) Today civil rights and fair housing groups filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and the Louisiana Recovery Authority. The suit alleges that the Road Home, Louisiana’s Hurricane Katrina recovery program, discriminates against African-American homeowners in New Orleans.

The Road Home, an $11 billion federally-funded program, is the largest housing redevelopment program in U.S. history. The suit is being filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of five individuals representing a class of more than 20,000 African-American homeowners and two fair housing organizations, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and the National Fair Housing Alliance.

11-12-08 Read the full press release here

11-12-08 Download a copy of the Road Home fact sheet here

11-12-08 Download a copy of the complaint here

11-14-08 Watch a video of the November 12th press conference here

11-12-08 Read the City Business article “Lawsuit filed against Road Home with allegations of discrimination against blacks” here

Fair Housing Center Offers One-Time Rental Assistance to Prevent Eviction

Posted on 10. Nov, 2008 by in 2008 News, News

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) is offering mini- grants to approximately 20 families in the New Orleans area that are experiencing financial difficulties related to the Hurricane Gustav evacuation and that are facing eviction. Families making up to 60% of area media income and facing eviction may receive up to $250 in order to prevent an eviction and should call (504) 596-2100 or email for more details about eligibility and the application process. Applicants will have to provide proof of income in order to receive assistance. Qualified applicants will be subject to a lottery. All applications must be received by Friday, November 14th, 2008.

This funding is generously provided by the Gulf Coast Fund.

11-10-08 Download the press release here

Fair Housing Center Offers Assistance to Gustav and Ike-Affected Homeowners

Posted on 15. Sep, 2008 by in 2008 News, News

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) has expanded its Hurricane Relief Project to assist homeowners affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The Hurricane Relief Project provides counseling to homeowners with issues related to insurance claims, mortgages, SBA loans, contractors, disaster recovery programs, and the Road Home Program. Homeownership Specialists are available now to help homeowners navigate through the recovery process.

The GNOFHAC, in collaboration with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), launched the Hurricane Relief Project in April 2006 to assist homeowners affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Since then, the GNOFHAC has helped hundreds of homeowners negotiate affordable mortgage repayment terms, receive fair settlement of insurance claims, and receive equitable compensation from the Road Home Program. In light of the damage done by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the GNOFHAC will now offer assistance to homeowners in South Louisiana who were impacted by these storms. Homeowners should call 504-596-2100 or 877-445-2100 to speak to a homeownership specialist.

The GNOFHAC has also created a Resource Guide for residents impacted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike that includes information on how to file an insurance claim, deal with your mortgage company, apply for FEMA assistance, apply for a SBA loan, deal with contractors, and seek out other assistance in the rebuilding process.

9-15-08 Download the press release here

FHAC Director to Address Democratic Convention at Denver Roundtable

Posted on 25. Aug, 2008 by in 2008 News, News

On Tuesday, August 26th at 1:00 p.m. PST in Denver, Colorado, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) Executive Director James Perry will address Democratic National Convention attendees. Perry will discuss the need for the federal government to recommit itself to Gulf Coast recovery. The roundtable will be moderated by Ted Koppel, former Nightline host. Other roundtable participants include Senator Mary Landrieu; Ray Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America; Douglas Brinkley, New Orleans historian; and Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist. The effort is part of a broader campaign by local, regional and national non-profits to ensure the federal government’s continued support of the post-Katrina recovery of America’s Gulf Coast region. The nonprofits will engage in similar efforts at the Republican National Convention.

Perry comments, “New Orleans is one of America’s greatest cities, with a rich history of contributing to America’s growth and development. However, due to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region still need America’s support, three years after the event. We’ve made great progress but are far from full recovery. As Gulf Coast advocates and citizens we call on America to honor President Bush’s commitment to rebuild New Orleans and the American Gulf Coast in a manner that is, ʻeven better and stronger than before the storms.ʼ”

8-25-08 Download the press release here

Executive Director James Perry Testifies Before Civil Rights Commission

Posted on 31. Jul, 2008 by in 2008 News, Enforcement News, News

On July 31, 2008 James Perry testified before the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity organized by the National Fair Housing Alliance, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Commission has scheduled hearings in 5 cities and will present its findings on fair housing enforcement to Congress in December. Check back soon for a copy of James’ testimony.

7-31-08 Read about the Commission in the Houston Chronicle here

Governor Vetoes Abramson Appropriation for Unity of Greater New Orleans

Posted on 14. Jul, 2008 by in 2008 News, Actions, News

On July 14 the office of Neil Abramson, State Representative from District 98, released a statement concerning Governor Jindal’s veto iof Abramson’s appropriation request of $50,000 to go to UNITY of Greater New Orleans, an organization that provides services, emergency shelter, and permanent housing to New Orleans’ homeless population. Recently UNITY has been instrumental in placing hundreds of homeless people living under the Claiborne Ave. I-10 overpass in stable housing. The release states that the $50,000 request, part of a larger $30 billion appropriations bill, would have helped house 44 people, a critical step forward at a time when New Orleans is facing an affordable housing shortage of historical proportions.

Contact Governor Jindal here.

Contact Representative Abramson here.

Read more about the homelessness crisis in New Orleans here. (Article from the March 17, 2008 issue of USA Today )

GNOFHAC Secures Attorneys Fees from St. Bernard Parish

Posted on 02. Jul, 2008 by in 2008 News, Enforcement News, News, St. Bernard Parish

St. Bernard Parish must pay $123,771.92 in fees and costs to attorneys
representing the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC)
and an individual plaintiff pursuant to a court order issued in Greater New Orleans
Fair Housing Action Center v. St. Bernard Parish et al, Case No. 06-7185, United
States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. The fees and costs are in
addition to the $32,500 previously paid by the Parish as part a Consent Order in
settlement of the claim for damages. This brings the total payout by the Parish up
to a total of $152,271.92.

The lawsuit was filed in November 2006 and asked the federal court to
enjoin St. Bernard Parish from enforcing an ordinance barring single-family
homeowners from renting to anyone except blood relatives without the special
permission of the Parish Council. GNOFHAC alleged that the ordinance
disproportionately excluded minority families seeking housing, and perpetuated the
parish’s history as a segregated, predominantly white community.

7-2-08: Read GNO Fair Housing’s press release here.

7-3-08: Read the Times Picayune article here.

7-8-08: Read the Times Picayune editorial “The Cost of Stubbornness” here.

8-27-08: Read the Nation article “New Orleans Redraws Its Color Line” here.

Action Alert: Proposed Legislation Violates the Fair Housing Act by Making it Illegal to House or Shelter Undocumented Immigrants

Posted on 20. May, 2008 by in 2008 News, Actions, News

The Louisiana state legislature is considering several pieces of legislation that complicate things for undocumented immigrants. While all of the bills are troublesome, two stand out in the housing front. House bills 1357 and 1365 seek to make it illegal to house or shelter undocumented immigrants. If passed, the bill would facilitate illegal discrimination. Even well-intentioned landlords would be forced to engage in illegal racial profiling in order to comply with the law. It is GNOFHAC’s position that the bill is illegal. In fact, similar bills have been struck down in other states and cities. We ask that you contact your state legislator and ask them to vote against the bill.

5-20-08 To read the two bills click here, scroll down to “Bill Search,” enter “HB 1357” or “HB 1365” and hit “view.”

5-30-08 Read the Times Picayune editorial, entitled “Wasting Time”, here.

6-04-08 Read the Times Picayune article, “Immigrant Bill Hits Senate Panel Snag”, here.

Click the links for a list of legislators (House and Senate).

GNOFHAC Homeownership Counselor Testifies Before State Senate Committee

Posted on 08. May, 2008 by in 2008 News, Homeownership Protection News, News

The LA Senate Committee on Local and Municipal Affairs unanimously approved SB 740, the Road Home Bill of Rights, sponsored by Senator Derrick Shepherd today. GNOFHAC Hurricane Relief Specialist, Seth Weingart, testified in support of the bill, as did Melanie Ehrlich of CHAT.

5-8-08: Read Seth Weingart’s testimony here.