FOUR MASSACHUSUTTS HOUSING AUTHORITIES SETTLE DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS
December 2017 -- Public housing authorities in Northhampton, West Springfield, Greenfield and Westfield, Massachusetts have settled complaints alleging violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Federal Fair Housing Act. The complaints were filed with HUD in 2016. Testing showed preferential treatment of English-speaking white applicants when compared to Spanish-speaking Latino applicants.
The housing authorities failed to offer applications in Spanish and, in some cases, referred Latino applicants to seek language services from another angency when they needed assistance.
In part, to settle the complaints, the housing authorities agreed to:
1) Provide notice of the availability of interpreters;
2) Provide applications in Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Khmer, and Portuguese;
3) Adopt Language Access Plans that are available to the public and on-line;
4) Train their staff;
5) Appoint a Language Access Coordinator.
In addition, HUD clarified that the use of "internet translation services" should be limited to the simplest kinds of communication (e.g. "This is your parking space.", "This document has five pages.", etc.)
HUD, MISSOURI HOUSING AUTHORITY AGREEMENTS INCREASE ACCESS TO HOUSING FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY
April 14, 2015 -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached two Voluntary Compliance Agreements (VCAs) with the Housing Authority of Independence (HAI), Missouri, resolving HUD findings which showed that the agency failed to provide persons with disabilities and individuals with limited English proficiency meaningful access to its HUD-funded housing programs.
March 5, 2014 -- HUD and Nebraska entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement concerning the state's non-compliance with HUD requirements including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act regarding limited English proficiency (LEP). Also, the state had not monitored its subrecipients for compliance with these LEP requirements.
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January 16, 2013 -- HUD announced that Virginia Realty Company of Tidewater, Inc., a property management company will pay $82,500 to settle allegations that it refused to allow a Hispanic woman to apply for an apartment because she did not speak fluent English. The company had a policy of not renting to limited English proficient persons and it refused the language assistance of a bilingual friend she brought with her. (HUD Case #03-11-0424-8)
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the rental of housing on the basis of national origin.
January 2013 -- HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity filed a Title VIII complaint against a property management company alleging that it had an established written policy that required competency in English as a prerequisite of tenancy for residential properties. The complaint arose from a preliminary investigation of a complaint filed by a person who was refused a rental application because she was Hispanic and did not speak English well.
Subsection 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act make it unlawful to refuse to rent or otherwise make unavailable a dwelling because of National Origin.
The property management company agreed in a Conciliation Agreement to:
- adopt and implement a Non-Discrimination Policy and post it in both English and Spanish and provide it to their staff
- adopt a Limited English Proficiency Plan
- complete 2 hours of Fair Housing training
- pay a total of $75,000 to three different organizations to support bilingual programs and activities that create housing opportunities and further Fair Housing
(HUD/FHEO Case #03-11-0424-8)
June 28, 2012 -- HUD entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the Jacksonville Housing Authority (JHA) to settle a complaint based on national origin. JHA agreed to pay $25,000, perform a Language Needs Assessment, develop a Language Access Plan, improve language assistance procedures, translate documents, train its staff, and conduct outreach on a prescribed schedule. (HUD Case #04-08-1733-6)
The Spanish-speaking tenant who filed the complaint had failed to recertify her household income. All JHA written and oral communication to her about this requirement was in English. The tenant did not provide the required income information and JHA terminated her lease. The tenant did not know her appeal rights. JHA did not have a Language Needs Assessment or Language Access Plan. JHA had bilingual staff, but no policy for its use.