Fair Housing Enforcement Program

February 2016                                                                              Volume 3, Issue 2
Aloha! 
HUD's Live Free Fair Housing Campaign

Aloha and thanks for reading.

This month, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii welcomes Marissa Okazaki and Emmie Suzuki-Phillips  to the Fair Housing Enforcement Program! Marissa will be joining us as an Investigation Coordinator and Emmie as a Fair Housing Outreach Specialist. 

As always, be sure to check out our website for more program updates and resources. To connect with us on social media, check out:

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Fair Housing is our kuleana, our right and responsibility. Have you ever felt discriminated against by a housing provider based on your national origin, your familial status, your sex, etc? Share your story with us! #FairHousingIsOurKuleana
Recent Fair Housing News
Texas Ignores the Fair Housing Act 
February 3, 2016

The Supreme Court affirmed that the segregation of low-income housing represents a "disparate impact" that violates the  Fair Housing  Act (FHA). Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, Texas state leaders are still finding ways to thwart the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing requirement of the FHA, especially in the Dallas and Houston metro areas where city officials are blocking low-income housing tax credits in their communities. Click here to read more.
 
Profit vs. Fairness
  February 2, 2016

The Concierge Apartments in Richfield are getting granite counter tops, a golf simulator, and even a pet spa. Now, a new federal class action lawsuit claims the nearly 700 unit complex is getting its facelift at the expense of some of the disabled, minority, and elderky residents who already live there. The suit says by raising the rent 30%, refusing to participate in government programs like Section 8, and requiring a minimum credit score of 625, the owner is not only trying to upgrade the buildings, but the tenant population as well. For more, click here.

Unfair Mortgage Lending
February 1, 2016

In Memphis, First Tennessee Bank  will pay $1.9 million  to settle charges brought by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that the bank unfairly discriminated against African-American and Hispanic applicants by denying them mortgage loans and by failing to place bank branches in minority-concentrated areas - both violations of the Fair Housing Act. For more, click here.

A Closed Gateway
January 29, 2016

Gateway Construction Corp., based in Alabama, has agreed to pay $300,000 into a settlement account and pay $50,000 in civil penalties for the 36 properties in Alabama, 25 in Georgia, nine in North Carolina, and one in Tennessee that the Justice Department says were built without regard to the accessibility requirements outlined in the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. While Gateway has denied the Justice Department's allegations, they have agreed to the settlement to avoid time and cost of litigation. For more, click here.
Tester  Training for Interested Volunteers
The Fair Housing Tester Program hosts regular tester training for interested volunteers. Candidates must be 18 years and older with no previous felony record, have no open case with the Legal Aid Society, and cannot have an active real estate license. 

Our next Fair Housing Tester Training will be located on Maui during the month of March, 2016.
 
Please call the Fair Housing Investigation Coordinator at (808) 527-8036 to register and to receive more details, or complete the online application here .
February FHEP Outreaches
The Fair Housing Enforcement Program has partnered with We Are Oceana to provide outreach, education, and on-site intake for legal assistance every Thursday from 11:00am-1:00pm at St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church in Kalihi. 

If you or anyone you know has a fair housing issue and is interested in applying for Legal Aid services, feel free to come down. A Chuukese interpreter will also be present.  For more information on this outreach, please contact Madonna at (808) 527­-8083.
Training Opportunities
Looking for training on the Fair Housing Act?

FHEP offers free training on fair housing.  Our training seminar options cover a range of topics from general fair housing information to specific areas such as reasonable accommodation requests, assistance animals, and others.  Please contact Madonna at (808) 527-8083 to schedule a free training on fair housing. 
Quick Links
About Us
The Fair Housing Enforcement Program (FHEP) is a project of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.  Our mission is to promote fair housing and end housing discrimination through education, advocacy, outreach, and litigation.  All people in Hawaii have the right to make housing choices without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, or HIV infection.
If you believe you have been denied access to housing because of discrimination, you may call the FHEP Hotline at 
808-527-8024  or from the Neighbor Islands,
866-527-3247.  Leave a message and our Intake Specialist will call to schedule an interview.  One of our staff attorneys will then review your case and determine whether we will be able to provide assistance.  
 
924 Bethel Street
Honolulu, HI 96813