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Lawsuit over community for mentally disabled
     (CHEBOYGAN, Mich., Oct. 02, 2015) -- The owners of a proposed residential therapeutic farm community for people with mental disabilities have filed a lawsuit against Cheboygan County.
     Despite the lawsuit, the application has since been scheduled for review by the Cheboygan County Planning Commission during a regular meeting November 4 at 7 p.m. at the Cheboygan Area High School auditorium. Attorneys for Larry and Betsy Hanson filed the suit on August 5 on behalf of Heritage Cove Farm in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Northern Division.
     The Hansons submitted an application to the Cheboygan County Planning and Zoning Department in March to develop their proposed farm community on their property south of Grandview Beach Road in Tuscarora Township. In their application, the Hansons stated their development would provide therapy, support and structure for those adults with mental illness that voluntarily desire and have the capacity to recover and live independently. Heritage Cove Farm would offer an alternative to adult foster care and respite support, the application explains.
     The development would provide temporary housing and meals for mentally disabled adult men and women, according to the application. Twelve residents would be included for the initial first phase, with an additional 12 residents planned for the second phase. FULL STORY at cheboygannews.com

Family of cancer patient says they were victims of discrimination by a charity group
     (HOUSTON, Oct. 01, 2015) -- he family of a four-year-old cancer patient says they were victims of discrimination when refused housing by the Ronald McDonald House Houston.
     In January, Jolynn Garcia was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. She underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumor. By July she would begin chemotherapy at MD Anderson.
     She and her family are from the Rio Grande Valley so they asked if they could stay at the Ronald McDonald House Houston during treatments. Their request was denied.
     "You all say, advertise, that you don't turn away any child at all. How come you're denying my daughter," asked Jolynn's mother Evelyn Garcia. FULL STORY at abc7ny.com

HUD hands out $38 million to fight housing discrimination
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 01, 2015) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced this week that it is awarding $38 million total to more than 100 groups to be used for fighting housing discrimination.
     The money is being awarded as part of HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program.
     According to HUD, the funding provided through the competitive grants will help to support a range of fair housing enforcement efforts, including fair housing testing, as well as activities that help educate the public, housing providers and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
     “Combating housing discrimination requires the aggressive enforcement of the nation’s fair housing laws, but HUD can’t do it alone,” said HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Gustavo Velasquez. “The funding we are announcing today will enable organizations committed to justice and equality to support our efforts to ensure that everyone has equal access to available housing opportunities.” FULL STORY at housingwire.com

Warner, Kaine announce nearly $7million in HUD funding to increase access to fair housing
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 01, 2015) -- U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced that seven Virginia localities and organizations will receive nearly $7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
     The funding will help local governments fight housing discrimination, improve economic conditions and increase access to affordable housing. “These funds will strengthen Virginia communities and improve the quality of life for residents,” said Warner.
     “These are investments in our local neighborhoods that will expand economic opportunity now and in the future.” “Throughout my years in public service and as a lawyer fighting housing discrimination, I’ve seen the tremendous benefits equal access to housing and home ownership can have in our communities,” said Kaine.
     “By ensuring the supply of affordable housing, helping build strong, prosperous communities and educating citizens on their rights?, these grants will make a positive impact on the lives of families in Virginia.” FULL STORY at realestaterama.com

HSBC to face Cook County discriminatory lending lawsuit
     (CHICAGO, Oct. 01, 2015) -- The Britain-based bank's plea to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Cook County, IL in 2014 was rejected by the U.S. District Judge John Lee in Chicago. The news was reported by Reuters.
     The lawsuit accuses HSBC of using discriminatory lending practices toward minority borrowers. The company had sought dismissal of the case on the ground that it was filed very late by Cook County. Also, the bank questioned the county's legal position for claiming compensation under the U.S. Fair Housing Act. However, Lee rejected HSBC's appeal.
     Notably, while passing the judgment, Lee wrote, "The county has alleged a widespread scheme of discriminatory lending which involved all the various defendants. This is sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss."
      FULL STORY at nasdaq.com

Westfork Apartments listed in federal suit
     (JASPER, Ala., Oct. 01, 2015) -- On Sept. 30, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against owners and developers of apartment complexes for failing to make facilities accessible to the disabled, with one of the complexes in question located in Jasper.
     The lawsuit filed against Alabama-based developers Allan Rappuhn, Gateway Construction Corporation, Gateway Development Corporation and affiliated companies states that 71 apartment complexes in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee fail to meet Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for accessible housing for the disabled.
     “Those who design and build multifamily housing complexes are required by federal laws that have been on the books for over two decades to provide accessible features for persons with disabilities,” Vanita Gupta, the principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of the Civil Rights Division, said in a press release from the Department of Justice. “Unlawful barriers deny Americans with disabilities the basic right to equal housing opportunities.” FULL STORY at mountaineagle.com

Town settles civil rights lawsuit
     (DARIEN, Conn., Sep. 30, 2015) -- The Town of Darien has settled a 4-year-old lawsuit against the Planning & Zoning Commission claiming the town rejected an affordable housing development proposal on the basis of discrimination against minorities.
     Plaintiff Chris Hamer will be paid $150,000 under the settlement, according to his attorney, New Haven-based John Williams.
     Two years ago, a federal judge dropped the name of former Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Fred Conze from the suit, granting him legislative immunity for his actions, but ruled the claims against the town should proceed. The case had been set to go to trial last month, Williams said. FULL STORY at dariennewsonline.com

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