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Area couple to speak on Fair Housing Act
     (TOLEDO, Ohio, Jan. 21, 2015) -- A Toledo couple will speak today on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court about their experience with mortgage discrimination, the same day the court hears arguments that could affect criteria of the Fair Housing Act.
     Eric and Vonda Williams will speak about their experiences alongside others who will urge the court not to scale back protections under the Fair Housing Act. Also traveling to Washington is Diana Patton, vice president, chief operating officer, and general counsel for the Toledo Fair Housing Center.
     At issue in the case Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs. The Inclusive Community Project Inc. is whether plaintiffs in housing discrimination cases must prove discriminatory intent.
     This would be a higher hurdle than the current standard, known as disparate affect, which means plaintiffs must only prove a policy disproportionately negatively impacts a protected class. Discrimination is prohibited against protected classes, meaning lenders can’t discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
      FULL STORY at toledoblade.com

Vet, service dog evicted over unpaid pet fee
     (BANDERA, Texas, Jan. 16, 2015) -- A disabled Army veteran says he and his service dog were evicted from a Bandera mobile home last month, following a months-long dispute over an unpaid "pet fee."
     David Palasek, whose seven years of military service included tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Army and the Army National Guard, was evicted Dec. 22.
     He refused to pay the pet fee, citing the Fair Housing Act, which protects people who use service dogs from being discriminated against.
     "If it's happening to me, it's going to happen to other people," said Palasek, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and injuries to his neck, spine, knee and shoulder in a Humvee accident and separate IED attack in Iraq. Palasek is also a cancer surviver, beating testicular cancer in recent years. FULL STORY at armytimes.com

Few details on Harrison affordable housing
     (WESTCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 16, 2015) -- Federal housing monitor James Johnson on Thursday didn't get what he asked for from Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino: the location and number of affordable housing units in Harrison that will be among the 606 apartments under review in the town.
     But at least Johnson got a meeting.
     Westchester wants to convene one with those involved in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plan for 143 apartments at the Harrison train station, which is slated for what Harrison Supervisor Ron Belmont likes to call "luxury housing."
     It's too early to tell whether Johnson will be assuaged by the plan for a meeting with Belmont, Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti, Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett, and the developer's attorney, Mark Weingarten.
     "I have received correspondence from the county and expect to review it and continue my engagement with county leadership in the near term," Johnson said in an email message. FULL STORY at lohud.com

Bronxville, Developer Gateway Kensington sued for alleged housing discrimination
     (BRONXVILLE, N.Y., Jan. 15, 2015) -- Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. (WRO) announced Thursday that it was filing a lawsuit against the Village of Bronxville and developer Gateway Kensington LLC over alleged “illegal housing discrimination against families with children” at the long-planned Kensington Road condominium project.
     “Housing discrimination in all forms must be challenged, so that families and people of all ages are welcome in our communities,” said WRO Executive Director Geoffrey Anderson in a statement. “Bronxville and its developer have deliberately set out to design and market new condominiums to deter families with children from moving into the Village.”
     The WRO claims that:
     Bronxville has created an “age-targeted” special permit in its zoning code, which allows developers to build more units than allowed as of right if the housing is “designed to appeal primarily to individuals and couples without children,” as stated in Bronxville’s code. In 2013, Bronxville granted an “age-targeted” permit for the development of 54 condominium units on Kensington Road at a downtown site owned by the Village near the Metro-North train station. The apartments are intentionally designed with few bedrooms and with dens lacking closets and placed far from bathrooms. Moreover, the development will not offer any child-friendly amenities. FULL STORY at patch.com

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