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Katrina: A reflection from GNOFHAC Executive Director, James Perry

Posted on 29. Aug, 2014 by

August 29, 2014

In the short nine years since hurricane Katrina made landfall, New Orleans has undergone dramatic change.

Katrina brought New Orleans to her knees. She displaced hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed homes, communities, businesses, schools and hospitals. The world lamented our losses. We were inspired by people who reached out from near and far to help rebuild the homes, neighborhoods and schools. Every displaced New Orleanian has a warm story of a neighbor, a friend, organization, or a stranger who extended a hand to help us put our city back together. Read More…

Announcing the Social Justice Babies: 2015 Calendar!

Posted on 28. Aug, 2014 by

Ruby

 

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center is excited to present the first annual edition of the Social Justice Babies: 2015 Calendar! 

The full-color civil rights and fair housing-themed calendar will feature 12 photos of budding activist babies and toddlers dressed to depict civil rights figures throughout history, from Ruby Bridges to Walter Mondale.

Read More…

Race Discrimination on the North Shore

Posted on 28. Aug, 2014 by

In order to measure housing discrimination in our community, GNOFHAC uses testing, or mystery shopping, to evaluate the practices of local landlords. A recent investigation in Slidell revealed several instances of racial discrimination that violated the Fair Housing Act, including one landlord who’s paying the price this month.

GNOFHAC-trained testers called the landlord about an apartment he was advertising near Slidell. The landlord told the three African-American testers that the apartment wasn’t available, stating that the current tenant hadn’t left yet and that he needed to make major repairs first. During the same period of time, the landlord invited three white testers to visit the empty apartment and turn in an application. GNOFHAC filed a Fair Housing Act complaint in federal court and settled this month.  Read More…

GNOFHAC Settles Sexual Harassment Case in Shreveport

Posted on 28. Aug, 2014 by

In late 2011, GNOFHAC received a call from a woman in Shreveport in desperate need of housing for her and her children. After a few minutes of conversation, the woman disclosed that she was fleeing her current apartment because of ongoing sexual harassment she was enduring from her landlord.

Few people are aware that such harassment can be classified as a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act, but the reality is that sexual harassment in housing often occurs on the basis of a tenant’s sex.  “Sex” is one of the seven protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, therefore a landlord who sexually harasses his renter can sometimes be taken to court for housing discrimination.

Soon after we took the call from the original victim, two more women who had also rented from the landlord in question came forward to tell similar disturbing stories. The three brave women filed a lawsuit in federal court last year against their former landlord, bringing allegations of discrimination during and even after their tenancy. The courageous actions of these women have the potential to affect many other women in their community, as the landlord who harassed them owns more than 20 rental properties around Shreveport, and manages them himself.

The sexual harassment case was settled this month because of the rigorous work of GNOFHAC’s attorneys and clients. The settlement not only provides financial relief to each woman, but also restricts the landlord from visiting any of his rental properties unaccompanied, and requires him to complete fair housing training and implement a non-discrimination policy at all of his properties. GNOFHAC and our clients are confident that he’ll no longer be able to engage in the same discriminatory conduct in the future.

Discriminatory harassment can take many forms in housing. It is illegal for a landlord, maintenance worker, or apartment manager to harass you because of your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or family size. If you feel you’ve experienced discriminatory harassment, please contact GNOFHAC at 504-596-2100 or file a complaint with us here.

Job openings here at GNOFHAC!

Posted on 20. Aug, 2014 by

house bw logo copyGNOFHAC is currently hiring an outreach specialist and a legal assistant! Both are full-time employment opportunities. Read more about them here and share it with a friend!

We’re seeking an Outreach Specialist to plan, conduct, and manage various outreach, education, marketing and public relations activities on behalf of the organization. Duties include: assist in the planning and production of fair housing events; coordinate external communication on behalf of the organization through mediums including the Center’s blog, mass emails, and social media platforms; produce and distribute accessible educational materials; assist in providing educational trainings; and represent the organization at various events. Read the full job description here.  Accepting applications through September 3rd, 2014, C.O.B.  Read More…

Farewell, GNOFHAC!

Posted on 13. Aug, 2014 by

By Emma Foley, 2014 Summer Outreach Intern. Emma is a Senior at Vassar College, majoring in Urban Studies.

Emma Foley InternAround this time last year, I arrived in New Orleans for the first time as a part of a study abroad trip.  I fell in love with the city and vowed to return soon.  While scouring the Internet for opportunities to come back this summer, I came across GNOFHAC.  It sparked my interest, and as an Urban Studies major with a focus on housing and homelessness, it seemed ideal.

My tasks as Outreach Intern have run the gamut from attending and leading Fair Housing Five workshops, posting to Facebook and Twitter, writing a series of Staff Spotlight blog posts, reaching out to landlords and property management companies, and most recently, crafting all of the props for our 2015 baby calendar.  Read More…

46 Years of Accessibility

Posted on 12. Aug, 2014 by

Person in wheelchairHappy 46th birthday to the Architectural Barriers Act!  This law required all federally owned and leased buildings to be accessible to people with disabilities. In 1988, two decades later, the Fair Housing Act was updated to ban any discrimination in housing based on a person’s disability.

The Fair Housing Act also outlines design and construction requirements to guarantee many homes are accessible for everyone.  For a simplified explanation of these requirements, refer to our handy guide on accessible design!

If you are an architect and would like to schedule a training to learn more about accessible design from a certified AIA provider, please contact Education and Outreach Director, Sophie Rosen at srosen@gnofairhousing.org or by calling (504) 596-2100 ext. 109.

Staff Spotlight: A Business Manager’s Behind the Scenes Work

Posted on 23. Jul, 2014 by

Leonard Lewis, GNOFHAC’s business manager and a New Orleans native, has kept GNOFHAC running smoothly for almost four years now. On a day-to-day basis, Leonard’s job consists of a “mish mash” of administrative duties that “people need in order to get their jobs done”. He is the crucial behind-the-scenes guy responsible for far too many tasks we take for granted–making sure employees get paid, finding someone to fix the A/C when it breaks, ordering coffee and replacing toner, for example.

LeonardThroughout the workday Leonard, tunes in to C-Span or New Orleans City Council on his computer. This constant stream of news contributes to his impeccable knowledge of local, state, and federal government processes; he knows the ins and outs of a world that most of us only hear about from time to time. While some may think this makes for the dullest of television or radio, this rare pastime gives insight into why Leonard is so good at his job–not only doing his duties but contributing to the work of many other GNOFHAC departments as well.

Read More…

“Don’t Shy Away From Books About Tough Issues”

Posted on 22. Jul, 2014 by

Recently, Jabari Asim, a children’s book author and professor at Emerson College, published an opinion piece in the New York Times. Don’t Shy Away From Books About Tough Issues, argues the importance of exposing children to subjects like race, gender, and politics. Asim writes that these books not only make children better equipped for the tough issues they may eventually face, but it is also essential for children to see characters like themselves or their family reflected in books. Read More…

Fair Housing Five Featured in HUD’s Independent Publication

Posted on 21. Jul, 2014 by

Fair Housing FiveThe Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has recently released their latest issue of Evidence Matters, which spotlights various current fair housing challenges and solutions. This edition focuses on how the face of housing discrimination has changed since 1968. Before civil rights legislation was passed, discrimination was blatant and explicit. Read More…