Headlines & Hot Topics
January 10, 2019
HOUSING
Disparate impact, the concept that a practice can be discriminatory even if the policy itself is not rooted in intentional discrimination, has been an important tool of federal civil rights enforcement throughout the years. Last summer, when HUD considered similar action, the ERC wrote a blog post about the importance of disparate impact for fair housing. (Vox)
HUD-funded rental assistance programs, such as housing vouchers, are currently operating on funding that has already been appropriated. But should the government shutdown continue, much of that funding would lapse and HUD would not be able to renew it while the government remains closed. (Curbed)
The use of testing in housing dates back to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Civil rights testing in fair housing can help discreetly uncover differential treatment and racial discrimination faced by home seekers. (WBEZ)
The federal Violence Against Women Act protects domestic violence victims from eviction if their inability to pay rent is due to the abuse. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently heard a case, Boston Housing Authority v. Y.A., about the extent to which these protections apply and how federal law interacts with state laws. (Mass Live)
ACCESSIBILITY & DISABILITY RIGHTS
The DOJ and DOE have rescinded guidance issued during the Obama administration that was aimed at ensuring that minorities and students with disabilities weren’t unfairly disciplined. The 2014 Dear Colleague letter was deemed "unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper.” (Disability Scoop)
Vacation rental apps are connecting homeowners with accessible properties to travelers with mobility disabilities who need accessible living spaces during their holidays. Since accessibility means something different for everyone, photographs, customized search filters, and virtual tours are among the features that help disabled people find what they need. (LA Times, paywall)
Disability rights activists urged the VA General Assembly to increase funding for services provided by developmental disability waivers. These services, which are granted by Medicaid, include job coaching and home health care. (WTKR)
STRATEGIC INITIATIVES
Three cases that have been filed to the Supreme Court deal with the Civil Rights Act's applicability to sexual orientation and gender identity, two categories that are not federally protected against discrimination. A decision to hear these cases could have a major impact on employment discrimination against the LGBTQ community.  (Rewire News)
The House of Representatives passed a package of rules that includes a ban on discrimination against staffers and jobseekers on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. (NBC News)
The ERC is looking for a Membership Engagement Coordinator to analyze, engage, and grow our membership in both quality and quantity. Read the job description here and please apply or forward to an interested candidate!
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