FHCCI News and Updates – 2015

October 6, 2015 – IndyEast Promise Zone Announces Five Grants for $3.5 million: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development awarded $3.5 million through federal grants to city-wide nonprofits, including the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. Read more here.

September 30, 2015 – FHCCI Awarded HUD Fair Housing Grants: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) has been awarded two grants under the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). The grants provided are a $325,000 12-month Private Enforcement Initiative grant and a $174,005 18-month Fair Housing Organizations Initiative grant. The grants will provide funding for the FHCCI services in Central Indiana to address acts of unlawful housing discrimination. The FHCCI was the only recipient of FHIP funds in the State of Indiana. Read more here.

September 14, 2015 – 207 groups call on House and Senate leaders to reject anti-fair housing riders in FY2016 funding bill: Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance delivered a letter signed by over 200 local, state, and national organizations, public officials, and businesses addressed to House and Senate leaders urging them to reject any policy riders that strip local fair housing organizations and the federal government of the resources and tools they need to protect Americans from housing discrimination. Read more here.

September 8, 2015 – Fair Housing Groups Reach Settlement: Today, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center (CFHC), the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI), and the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) announce that they have settled a fair housing complaint against TGM Associates, a New York-based property management company that owns and operates apartment complexes throughout the United States. Read more here.

August 30, 2015 – Lawsuit Claims Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities by Indiana HOA: Recent press story by the Lafayette Journal & Courier on a case filing by the FHCCI and Lafayette residents. At issue is whether Brookfield Farms Homeowners Association discriminated against persons with disabilities when it discouraged sale of a single family home to a local disability organization intending to use the home for persons with disabilities.  

July 7, 2015 – FHCCI Celebrates ADA Anniversary: In 1990, the nation celebrated the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990, this groundbreaking civil rights law built upon the protections for those with disabilities provided by the federal Fair Housing Act two years prior. This month, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) celebrates the 25th anniversary of the ADA and the significant advances that have resulted in the rights of persons with disabilities. Read more here.

June 12, 2015 – Fair Housing Center Honored with Real Estate Award: On June 18th, Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) will be honored with a “Best of the Best” award at the Central Indiana Realtist Association’s Annual Trailblazer’s Luncheon. It is the mission of the Central Indiana Realtist Association (CIRA) to improve the quality of life of the un-served and the under-served by promoting home ownership and providing real estate services that support this goal. It is also CIRA’s mission to enhance the economic development and improvement of their members and the community they serve. Read more here.

June 3, 2015 – FHCCI Celebrates LGBT Pride Month: This June, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) celebrates LGBT Pride Month and honors the landmark achievements towards equality that have been made and the strides we still need to make. “The FHCCI seeks to ensure a more inclusive and diverse Indiana,” said FHCCI Executive Director Amy Nelson. “The last year has taught us that Indiana still has a long way to go to ensure that the LGBT community is valued and respected as the vital part of our state that it is.” Read more here.

May 27, 2015 – FHCCI Files Discrimination Complaint Against Indianapolis Mobile Home Community: Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Shiloh Estates, a mobile home community located on the East Side of Indianapolis, alleging discrimination against African-Americans, Latinos, families with children, and people with disabilities. The suit follows a years-long investigation by the FHCCI and alleges that Shiloh Estates; its owner and management company, Colorado-based FR Community; and its former manager, Pamela Ziemer, engaged in unlawful discrimination against current and former tenants on the basis of race, color, national origin, familial status, and disability. Read more below.

May 13, 2015 – FHCCI and 19 Civil Rights Organizations File Complaint Against Fanne Mae: Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) together with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and other private fair housing organizations across the United States accused the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) of race and national origin discrimination. In a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), the civil rights groups allege that Fannie Mae fails to maintain and market bank-owned foreclosures (also known as real estate owned or REO properties) in African American and Latino neighborhoods to the same standard as in White neighborhoods, a practice that violates the federal Fair Housing Act. Read more below.

April 2, 2015 – FHCCI Celebrates Fair Housing Month: Each year, April is celebrated around the country as Fair Housing Month. For 2015, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) is marking the occasion with its third-annual Fair Housing Conference and partnerships with Indianapolis artists Damon Lamar Reed and Bruce Armstrong. “Art has the power to transform a message through visual history,” stated Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the FHCCI. “Public art, like Reed and Armstrong’s murals, encourages a dialogue between all people, emphasizing integration and community. The FHCCI is thrilled to incorporate new ways of communicating its vision of a society free of discrimination.” Read more here.

March 31, 2015 – FHCCI Urges Addition of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to Indiana Civil Rights Laws: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) urges the Indiana General Assembly to immediately amend Indiana civil rights laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Hoosiers from discrimination. “While several Indiana cities have made great strides in ensuring equality for LGBT residents, there is a serious risk of backsliding at the state level,” stated Amy Nelson, Executive Director of FHCCI. “It is still perfectly lawful in Indiana to fire or evict someone because of their sexual orientation, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) threatens to deny services to any LGBT customer if a business so chooses and overrides any local LGBT civil rights or housing protections under city/county human relations ordinances. The only way to secure an inclusive and equal society for our LGBT relatives, friends, and neighbors is to add sexual orientation and gender identity/expression as protected classes to Indiana civil rights and fair housing laws.” Read more here.

March 31, 2015 – Indiana Senate Set to Vote on HB 1300 Restricting Housing Choice for Low-Income Hoosiers: Any day now, the Indiana Senate will vote on HB 1300, which would restrict the ability of Indiana cities and counties to add or enforce source of income housing discrimination protections under their City/County Human Relations Ordinances. If passed, it would significantly impact the ability of cities and counties with affordable housing limitations to ensure safe, affordable housing options for those of lower incomes. HB 1300 has passed the Indiana House and recently passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee as “Do Pass” on a party-line vote. The Fair Housing Center of Central (FHCCI) urges a “Do Not Pass” on HB 1300. Read more here.

March 11, 2015 – FHCCI Releases 2014 Annual Report: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) released its 2014 Annual Report. In its third year of operations, the FHCCI served over 500 clients; trained over 1,500 housing professionals and community members; assisted 30 low-income families in securing no-cost modifications to their homes to ensure long-term aging in place; and distributed over $1 million in community reinvestment funds through a settlement with Wells Fargo. Read more here. View the report here.

March 6, 2015 – Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Honors Women’s History Month:  The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) celebrates Women’s History Month and acknowledges the strides that have been made in gender equality. “We’ve made tremendous progress since the Fair Housing Act was amended to ensure equal access to housing for equally qualified women in 1974, but we still see to symptoms to sexism in the housing market today,” stated Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the FHCCI. “Whether it’s banks refusing to lend mortgages to women on maternity leave or single mothers being told they can only rent apartments on certain floors of apartment buildings because landlords are concerned about noise, the FHCCI is committed to helping women who have been discriminated against enforce their rights.” Read more here.

March 2, 2015 – Fair Housing Center Honors Disability Awareness Month: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) joins with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and the public to honor March as Disability Awareness Month in Indiana. “Disability has been a federally protected class since 1988, but we still see examples of housing discrimination daily,” said Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the FHCCI. “Whether this is charging tenants with disabilities pet fees to live with their service animals; steeper mortgage terms for applicants whose income is disability benefits; or development companies building multifamily housing that doesn’t meet minimum accessibility standards, these are all unlawful and all unfortunately common.” Read more here.

February 4, 2015 – Fair Housing Center Announces Coach Herman Boone, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Bryan Greene to Speak at Annual Conference: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) and more than 20 community sponsors are pleased to announce that Herman Boone, legendary football coach and inspiration for the 2000 film Remember the Titans, and Bryan Greene,General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will speak at their April 16, 2015 Fair Housing Annual Conference. In addition, a featured workshop panelist will be Steven Rosenbaum, Chief, Housing & Civil Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC, who will provide an update on the Department of Justice’s fair lending cases. Other local and nationally known fair housing speakers will also be workshop panelists. Read more here.

January 22, 2015 – Housing vouchers could be accepted throughout county, Indianapolis Recorder: “What’s happening is, the individuals are being driven right back into poverty areas and it’s defeating the purpose of the program,” said Amy Nelson, executive director of the FHCCI. “In many ways it’s putting a wall up in high poverty areas and saying ‘Once you get in there you’re stuck and we aren’t going to help you get back out’ and that’s not what we want.” Read the entire story here (direct link) or here (pdf).

January 19, 2015 – FHCCI Honors Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) today honors the legacy of one of the fair housing movement’s greatest leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Dr. King was a tireless advocate for the end of residential segregation in the United States,” stated Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the FHCCI. “He knew that the only way to promote inclusion and acceptance in society was if people were coworkers, neighbors, and schoolmates. We owe him a profound debt for all he did to bring greater racial equality to our society.” Read more here.

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