Denver Metro Fair Housing Center - Promoting Fair Housing For All
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Summer 2016 Newsletter

The last few months have kept us busy and inspired as we’ve celebrated Fair Housing month, hosted our 2nd annual Fair Housing gala, achieved gains in our enforcement work and welcomed two new staff members.

To acknowledge Fair Housing month as well as the history of our new office location in the Denver Five Points neighborhood, we hosted a walking tour around Welton Street followed by an open house in April. We engaged with the community’s rich cultural history through visiting some of the area’s many landmarks. We also learned about institutionalized practices of housing discrimination commonly used against the majority African American residents of the neighborhood. It was important for us to draw connections between historical legacies of discrimination with contemporary gentrification that is increasingly pushing African American and Latino/a community members out. This served as another reminder that fair housing continues to be incredibly relevant to this community, as well as many others in the Denver metro area.

In addition to our open house, the 2nd annual Fair Housing gala took place on April 21st. We were humbled by the great turnout and enthusiasm with which guests engaged with our work. It was wonderful to raise awareness and celebrate fair housing with the support of prominent leaders including our keynote speaker, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Gustavo F. Velasquez.  We were also thrilled to recognize the substantial contributions made by local community members to challenging housing discrimination. Thank you to everyone who helped make this night a success! We truly could not do this work without your generosity and support. 

As we move into the summer we will keep you updated with any Fair Housing related training or events that we will be offering. We look forward to continuing to work together in order to ensure that housing discrimination becomes a thing of the past.

Thank you again,

The Staff of DMFHC
3280 Downing St., Suite B
Denver, CO  80205
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Fair Housing Enforcement Updates: 

DMFHC filed administrative complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division against a housing provider that refused to rent to families with children and people with service animals.

During testing, a tester was told “no means no” when trying to explain that the dog was not a pet but a service animal. Another tester was told that the two-bedroom unit was too small for a family with two young children. The housing provider immediately took action after receiving our complaints, attended fair housing training, agreed to change their lease agreements and remove the discriminatory policies, and made donations to local nonprofits that support people with disabilities and families with children.

Please take a look at our Familial Status and Disability discrimination brochures for more information about about these protected classes. 
Fair Housing Outreach & Education Updates: 

DMFHC is excited to announce that we will be providing Fair Housing lending presentations to the participants of several full day Homebuyer Education classes. Homebuyer Education classes are valuable resources that provide first-time homebuyers with the knowledge necessary to ensure the process of purchasing a home goes smoothly. The content DMFHC will cover during the classes will inform participants about what lending discrimination often looks like, as well as what they can do if they believe they have experienced unfair treatment.

DMFHC is confirmed to present at the following Homebuyer Education classes:

August 13th - Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation (exact time of presentation to be determined) 
  • 303.428.1448
August 20th – Douglas County Housing Partnership at 11:30 am – 12:15 pm
  • 303.784.7857
August 27th – Northeast Denver Housing at 10:00 am – 10:45 am
  • 303.377.3334
If you would like information about how to get signed up for one of these homebuyer education classes, please call the number indicated for the class you would like to attend. Feel free to email as well with any questions.

In additional news, we will be launching our very own Education & Outreach webpage on the website in the coming weeks. It will include detailed information and educational materials about fair housing as well as a comprehensive list of community resources. Stay tuned!
New Staff:

We welcomed our new Fair Housing Outreach Specialist, Kathleen Ferrick and new Office Manager, Renee Robinson to our team. They are both former volunteer testers, and therefore have a demonstrated commitment to promoting fair housing. We look forward to their continued contributions to our work!

Fair Housing Tip:

Familial Status: The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in mortgage lending and the provision of mortgage insurance because an applicant is pregnant or on maternity leave. Denial of mortgage lending opportunities based on pregnancy or maternity/parental leave constitute discrimination based on familial status. Additionally, pregnant applicants or those on maternity/parental leave should not be required to return to work before being deemed eligible for mortgage lending and other services. 

For instance, a lender who advises a pregnant applicant to "wait until the baby is born and you are working again" before trying to get approval for a mortgage loan is likely violating the Fair Housing Act. 

If you or someone you know has been a victim of housing discrimination or has a question regarding the fair housing act, contact DMFHC at (720) 279-4291.

Volunteers needed!

DMFHC is always in need of fair housing testers of all ages and backgrounds to help us investigate housing discrimination. 

Testers are provided a stipend for their work and reimbursed for their mileage. 

If you or someone you know is interested in helping us achieve our mission give us a call at 720-279-4291.

Fair Housing Statistic

In 2014, disability-based housing discrimination made up 51.8 percent of all complaints with 14,272 instances reported, an increase from the 13,542 complaints from the previous year in which they made up 49.5 percent.

National Fair Housing Alliance, Where you Live Matters: 2015 Fair Housing Trends Report
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The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication.  Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.