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Fair Housing Center Files Suit Against Landlord Over Blatant Racial Housing Discrimination

Posted on 17. Dec, 2010 by in 2010 News, Enforcement News, News

On December 17, 2010, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) filed suit against the Bouchon Family Limited Partnership and Betty Bouchon.  The lawsuit stems from two unrelated complaints of discrimination by housing consumers.  Both complained that Ms. Bouchon was using race to discriminate against renters at a sixteen (16) unit housing complex located at 4905 and 4919 Canal Street, in New Orleans, LA.  Over the course of a year, GNOFHAC tested the complex for discrimination.  GNOFHAC mystery shoppers attempted to rent units at the complex.  During the process, the mystery shoppers documented blatant discrimination by Ms. Bouchon.

12-17-10 Listen to recordings of statements made by Ms. Bouchon here and here

12-17-10 Read the full press release here

12-20-10 Read the City Business article “Canal Street Landlord Sued for Discrimination” here or download

Fair Housing Center Releases New Book For Children; The Fair Housing Five

Posted on 11. Dec, 2010 by in 2010 News, Education News, News

On December 11th, 2010, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) officially released its new book for children, The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House.  The book explores the issue of fair housing through the eyes of a young girl and her friends who take a stand when they discover that a landlord in their neighborhood is discriminating.  It features full color illustrations by local artist Sharika Mahdi.  The book is available in hardcover and paperback at www.fairhousingfive.org and several local bookstores.

12-13-10 Read the full press release here

12-7-10 Read the nola.com article about the release here or download.

Action Alert: Tell HUD Secetary Donovan To Fix Discrimination In Road Home Program Today!

Posted on 25. Sep, 2010 by in 2010 News, Homeownership Protection News, News

Last week, the New Orleans City Council unanimously adopted a resolution urging “the State of Louisiana immediately to take appropriate actions to implement the U.S. District Court ruling” issued by the honorable Judge Kennedy in August regarding the discrimination inherent to Louisiana’s Road Home Program.  We’ve sent a copy of the resolution to the state and to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan because they have the ability to fix the Road Home program at any time for both future and past participants.  The state of Louisiana and HUD should use any remaining Road Home money to help families affected by the discriminatory formula get back into their homes!

On August 16, a federal court judge ruled that the Road Home housing program is likely discriminatory.  With approximately 150,000 participants, the program is the largest single housing program ever undertaken by the federal government.   It was designed to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Judge Kennedy enjoined the program from using its discriminatory formula.  His ruling will insure that future grant recipients are treated fairly. However, Judge Kennedy believes that the law doesn’t allow him to help families who have already received Road Home grants.  We’ve asked a federal appeals court to consider whether or not Kennedy can help the scores of thousands of families who have already received discriminatory grants from the program.

But in the meantime, we need your help.  The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, led by Secretary Shaun Donovan, could fix the Road Home program at anytime for both future and past participants.  At a minimum Sec. Donovan could direct the State of Louisiana to use any remaining Road Home money to help families affected by the discriminatory formula get back into their homes.

Email Secretary Donovan or call him at 202-708-0417 and tell him to fix the Road Home Program.

8-25-10 Learn more about the Road Home and why it is discriminatory here.

8-16-10 Read the nola.com article “Road Home’s grant calculations discriminate against black homeowners, federal judge rules” here.

8-27-10 Read the Washington Post article “Uneven Katrina recovery efforts often offered the most help to the most affluent” here.

8-27-10 Watch the CNBC segment “Rocky Road Home” here

8-31-10 Read the Miller-McCune article “No Port After the Storm” here

Federal Appeals Court Issues Injunction In Fair Housing Center’s Road Home Case

Posted on 22. Sep, 2010 by in 2010 News, Enforcement News, News, Road Home

On Thursday, September 22, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an injunction protecting remaining funds from the Road Home Program.  The injunction prevents then State from expending funds while the plaintiffs put on evidence that the formula used by Louisiana and HUD has had a discriminatory effect.  The Court also partially granted the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center’s request for expedited consideration of the case in part.  It is our hope that the ruling represents an opportunity for all homeowners to receive grants based on a non-discriminatory formula.

10-10-10 Read David Hammer’s nola.com article “Road Home Could be Smoothed by Court Rulings” here or download.

9-23-10 Read the full press release here.

9-23-10 Read the court order here.

9-23-10 Read the nola.com article here or download.

GNOFHAC Director Comments on Iberville Redevelopment

Posted on 27. Aug, 2010 by in 2010 News, Homeownership Protection News, News, Uncategorized

“With little fanfare or public conversation, the Housing Authority of New Orleans has begun the redevelopment process of the city’s last major pre-Katrina public housing complex — the Iberville development… Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Executive Director James Perry said that he did not know of any public outreach done about the redevelopment. ‘I’ve heard nothing outside of (closed) meetings,” he said. “Before HUD and HANO start talking about redeveloping Iberville, they should honor commitments to completing the rebuilding of the Big Four redevelopments they’ve already started.'”

8-27-10 Read the rest of The Lens article here or download.

Federal Judge Rules that Road Home Program is Likely Discriminatory; New Orleans City Council Adopts Resolution Urging State to Take Appropriate Action

Posted on 16. Aug, 2010 by in 2010 News, Enforcement News, Homeownership Protection News, News, Road Home

Last week, the New Orleans City Council unanimously adopted a resolution urging “the State of Louisiana immediately to take appropriate actions to implement the U.S. District Court ruling” issued by the honorable Judge Kennedy in August regarding the discrimination inherent to Louisiana’s Road Home Program. GNOFHAC sent a copy of the resolution to the state and to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan because they have the ability to fix the Road Home program at any time for both future and past participants. The state of Louisiana and HUD should use any remaining Road Home money to help families affected by the discriminatory formula get back into their homes.

On August 16, a federal court judge ruled that the Road Home housing program is likely discriminatory. With approximately 150,000 participants, the program is the largest single housing program ever undertaken by the federal government. It was designed to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Judge Kennedy enjoined the program from using its discriminatory formula. His ruling will insure that future grant recipients are treated fairly. However, Judge Kennedy believes that the law doesn’t allow him to help families who have already received Road Home grants. GNOFHAC asked a federal appeals court to consider whether or not Kennedy can help the scores of thousands of families who have already received discriminatory grants from the program.

8-25-10 Learn more about the Road Home and why it is discriminatory here.

8-16-10 Read the nola.com article “Road Home’s grant calculations discriminate against black homeowners, federal judge rules” here.

8-27-10 Read the Washington Post article “Uneven Katrina recovery efforts often offered the most help to the most affluent” here.

8-27-10 Watch the CNBC segment “Rocky Road Home” here

8-31-10 Read the Miller-McCune article “No Port After the Storm” here

Fair Housing Executive Director Urges Congress To Address Government Sponsored Housing Discrimination In Gulf Region

Posted on 29. Jul, 2010 by in 2010 News, Homeownership Protection News, News, Road Home

On Thursday, July 29, 2010, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) Executive Director James Perry testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.  Perry reported that in the Gulf Coast region since Katrina, “the most egregious cases of discrimination have been perpetuated by government actors entrusted to serve the very communities that they have discriminated against.”

Perry cited numerous examples of how discriminatory actions and policies on the part of government have “stunted recovery for scores of thousands of Gulf Coast residents,” particularly people of color, people with disabilities, families with children, and low-income residents.  For example, “rather than a Road Home, many black homeowners have found a road leading to despair, inequity and discrimination” because of the racially discriminatory Road Home grant calculation formula.  Perry also pointed to discriminatory actions and policies on the part of FEMA, St. Bernard Parish, the State of Louisiana, and the Housing Authority of New Orleans in the five years since Katrina.

7-30-10 Read the Gannett article “House Weighs Fair Housing Act Changes” here

7-29-10 Read the entire press release here

7-29-10 Read Perry’s testimony here

7-29-10 Listen to audio of Perry’s testimony here

7-28-10 Read the press release announcing Perry’s testimony here

Tell Congress To Reauthorize The National Flood Insurance Program!

Posted on 28. Jun, 2010 by in 2010 News, News

Fourteen days into the 2010 hurricane season, Congress has yet to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which lapsed on May 31, 2010.  This means that the NFIP no longer has the authority to issue new policies, increase coverage on existing policies, or issue renewal policies. Affected property owners could include those who need to renew policies that were not renewed prior to the end of the 30-day grace period, homebuyers who must purchase flood insurance as a condition for obtaining mortgages from federally regulated lenders, and property owners refinancing existing mortgages who must purchase or renew coverage.

In a region recently devastated by flooding and facing an active hurricane season made even more threatening by the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the lapse of the NFIP presents an unacceptable risk to vulnerable property owners.  Please contact your member of Congress (insert appropriate link) today and urge them to pass H.R. 4213 immediately, which contains an NFIP authorization through December 31, 2010.

6-14-10 Read the FEMA memo here

6-14-10 Contact your member of Congress here

Anti-Immigrant House Bill 1205 Likely Violates The Federal Fair Housing Act

Posted on 20. Apr, 2010 by in 2010 News, Homeownership Protection News, News

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) opposes House Bill 1205, “Louisiana Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2010,” because it is likely a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.  The bill will increase racial profiling and discrimination on the basis of national origin in the state of Louisiana.  Please call Representative Harrison at 800-935-2081 today to express your opposition to House Bill No. 1205!

4-20-10 Read Puentes’ analysis of some of the provisions of HB 1205 and find out how to get involved with efforts to stop the bill here.

4-20-10 Read the text of House Bill 1205 here.

4-20-10 Learn about similar ordinances in Hazelton, PA that have been struck down in Federal District Court. Watch this video.