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Summer Law Clerk Job Announcement

Posted on 30. Jan, 2014 by in 2013 News, Blog, Participate (for sidebar), Uncategorized

Description: The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) seeks dedicated, motivated, and talented law students for summer 2014 internships.

About GNOFHAC: GNOFHAC is a private, non-profit civil rights organization that was established in the summer of 1995 to eradicate housing discrimination throughout the greater New Orleans area through education, investigation, and enforcement activities. GNOFHAC is dedicated to fighting housing discrimination not only because it is illegal, but also because it is a divisive force that perpetuates poverty, segregation, ignorance, fear, and hatred. Read More…

Keynote Speaker Announced for Fit for King 2014: Ben Jealous

Posted on 30. Dec, 2013 by in 2013 News, Events, News

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center is pleased to announce they keynote speaker for the Fit for King 2014 Summit: Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Jealous will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life by exploring the question: “Are We Winning the Struggle to End Segregation?”

Benjamin Todd Jealous is the current president and CEO of the NAACP. The youngest president in its history, he began his career at age 18 opening mail at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Jealous has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality, and free multiple wrongfully incarcerated people. A builder of robust coalitions, Jealous’ leadership at the NAACP included bringing environmentalist organizations into the fight to protect voting rights, and convincing well-known conservatives to join the NAACP in championing the end of mass incarceration.

In 2014, 46 years after the passing of the Fair Housing Act, residential segregation is still a stark reality in our nation’s towns and cities. Segregation is more than geographical division by race- it is connected to critical quality of life indicators, including income, health, education, and life expectancy. The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center’s 7th annual Fit For King Housing Summit, “Are We Winning the Struggle to End Segregation?” will investigate the progress our country has made towards integration, the consequences of continued segregation on our communities, and how federal law and policy have been used to perpetuate segregation both historically and today. The conference will close with an interactive session about the possibility of integrated neighborhoods, how they can be sustained, and ways to advance housing choice locally as well as in the upcoming state legislative session.

Please join us and experts from around the country on January 15, 2014 to examine the intersections of residential segregation and environmental justice, gentrification, education, voting rights, and public policy.

Fit for King 2014 is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Fit for King 2014 brought to you by:

IBERIABANK

Whitney

Latter & Blum

HRI Properties

First NBC

aos

Bayou Title

Provident Realty

Gulf Coast Housing Partnership

Coats Rose

Talbot Realty

Baton Rouge Added to National Housing Discrimination Complaint Against U.S. Bank Over Discriminatory Upkeep of REO Properties

Posted on 15. Oct, 2013 by in 2013 News, Blog, News, Participate (for sidebar)

Today, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) joined the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and several other fair housing centers from across the country in announcing that they have amended a previously filed federal housing discrimination complaint against U.S. Bancorp and U.S. Bank National Bank Association (U.S. Bank) to include new evidence.  Specifically, evidence documenting discrimination in Baton Rouge was added to the complaint.

Read More…

News Conference Today (9/19) about Lower 9th Ward Rental Housing

Posted on 19. Sep, 2013 by in 2013 News, Events, News, Participate (for sidebar)

Families, Elected Officials and Advocates Call on State to Support Lower 9th Ward Rental Housing- 8 years after Katrina, more than $100 billion allocated, but not one dollar spent to rebuild affordable rental housing in Lower 9th Ward Read More…

New Orleans residents will push leaders to improve rentals

Posted on 18. Sep, 2013 by in 2013 News, Blog, News, Participate (for sidebar)

Today, the New Orleans City Council will host a citywide meeting to hear from residents about reducing blight in New Orleans.  The special meeting of the City Council’s Housing and Human Needs Committee will take place at 4:00 p.m. in the City Council chamber located at 1300 Perdido Street.  Read More…

New Orleans Fair Housing Center, National Fair Housing Alliance and Wells Fargo Announce Partnership To Rebuild Homeownership Opportunities in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and 18 other Cities

Posted on 06. Jun, 2013 by in 2013 News, Enforcement News, News, Participate (for sidebar)

Ground-Breaking Fair Housing Agreement in Marketing and Maintenance of Foreclosed Properties

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC), the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 13 of its member organizations announced a partnership with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. that will provide funds in 19 cities to foster homeownership, assist with rebuilding neighborhoods of color injured by the foreclosure crisis, and promote diverse, inclusive communities.

This is the first-ever agreement regarding the equal maintenance and marketing of Real Estate Owned (REO) homes. The agreement is the result of a federal housing discrimination complaint filed in April 2012 with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The complaint alleged 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.   Read More…

Fair Housing Center announces $900,000 settlement agreement with St. Bernard Parish; pleased with settlement between United States and Parish

Posted on 10. May, 2013 by in 2013 News, Enforcement News, News, Participate (for sidebar), St. Bernard Parish, Uncategorized

On Friday, May 10, 2013, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) and nine (9) individual plaintiffs agreed to settle a federal lawsuit against St. Bernard Parish alleging that the permissive use permit (PUP) process adopted by the Parish in 2007 was racially discriminatory in violation of the Fair Housing Act.  As a result of the settlement agreement, the Parish will pay $900,000 to GNOFHAC, nine (9) individual Parish property owners, and their attorneys.  All plaintiffs have agreed to dismiss the claims they filed against the Parish in their January 2012 complaint.

Also on Friday, the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) announced its own settlement with the Parish in regards to a separate lawsuit it filed, also in January 2012, which alleged that the Parish “violated the Fair Housing Act by engaging in a multi-year campaign to limit rental housing opportunities for African-Americans in the parish.”  The USDOJ settlement requires the Parish to undergo comprehensive fair housing training, establish a Parish-wide Office of Fair Housing staffed by at least one full-time Fair Housing Coordinator, engage in affirmative marketing to both developers of rental housing and renters interested in living in the Parish, and establish a rental land grant program to facilitate the development of rental housing throughout the Parish.

Both settlements stem from alleged civil rights violations on the part of the Parish that have unfolded over the course of more than seven years.

GNOFHAC settled an earlier challenge to a Parish ordinance that restricted the rental of single-family residences to those related by blood to the owner of the property. In 2008, the Parish agreed to enter into a consent decree with GNOFHAC resolving that lawsuit. However, the Parish and the Parish Council were repeatedly held in contempt by a federal judge for violating the 2008 Consent Order, including for enacting two multi-family construction moratoria that were found to violate the Fair Housing Act. Racial discrimination has been a clear and consistent theme throughout the course of the legal battle.

GNOFHAC Executive Director James Perry comments, “The terms of the agreements that the Parish entered into today- valued at over $2.5 million- indicate that Parish attitudes towards fair housing responsibilities have changed drastically as a result of our ongoing work over the course of the last seven years.  The monetary settlement between the Parish, GNOFHAC and nine individual plaintiffs will make those harmed by the PUP process whole again.  The comprehensive USDOJ settlement agreement with the Parish is incredibly detailed and has the potential to make great strides in ensuring that everyone seeking to make a home in St. Bernard has an equal opportunity to do so.”

Reed Colfax and Jamie Crook of Relman, Dane and Colfax PLLC managed the litigation on GNOFHAC’s behalf.

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The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) is a private nonprofit organization. GNOFHAC is dedicated to eliminating housing discrimination and furthering equal housing opportunities through education, outreach, advocacy, and enforcement of fair housing laws across the metro New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas. The activities described in this release were privately funded.

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…

Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Baton Rouge Discrimination Case

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

Last week, the Honorable Judge James Brady, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana, granted a motion for summary judgment in the caseOxford House, Inc., et al vs. City of Baton Rouge.  In his ruling, Judge Brady found that the City of Baton Rouge violated the Fair Housing Act and American with Disabilities Act by:

  • Refusing to grant Oxford House a reasonable accommodation to its Unified Development Code (UDC);
  • Engaging in intentional discrimination against Oxford House because of their association with disabled persons;
  • Enforcing a facially discriminatory zoning provision in the form of its “Special Homes” ordinance;
  • Retaliating against the plaintiffs after they filed a fair housing complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a fair housing lawsuit in federal court. Read More…

HANO Adopts More Inclusive Criminal Background Policy

Posted on 27. Mar, 2013 by in 2013 News, Blog, Enforcement News, News, Policy Updates, Uncategorized

Yesterday the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) adopted a new criminal background policy, which goes a long way to expand housing choice and provide safe, decent and affordable housing to the community it serves.  The criminal background policy is what HANO uses in order to decide how an individual’s criminal background affects their ability to access housing or jobs with HANO.  The “old” policy, deemed as both discriminatory and unfair by advocates, considered arrests and convictions equally, and barred many New Orleanians from employment and housing opportunities with HANO.

Member based organizations like STAND with Dignity have been instrumental in pushing HANO to overhaul the current policy.  For example, STAND members with arrest records from more than a decade ago were repeatedly excluded from housing or employment.
Read More…