Civic News & Info
HUD CHARGES IOWA LANDLORDS WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST CHILD WITH CEREBRAL PALSY AND HER MOTHER PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by HUD Public Affairs   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 07:43

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is charging John and Nancy Meany, owners of an apartment building in Traer, Iowa, with violating the Fair Housing Act for refusing to accommodate a request from a family with a child with cerebral palsy.  HUD brings the charge on behalf of the child and her mother, claiming the owners refused to allow the seven-year-old girl to have a medically-prescribed emotional support animal. Additionally, the owners allegedly told the mother that if she got the animal, she would have to either move or pay more money to stay.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful for landlords to refuse a reasonable accommodation in their rules, policies, practices, or services when needed to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling. It is also against the law to impose different rules and restrictions on those who make such request, including charging them extra.

“Threatening parents with eviction for requesting an emotional support animal for a child with disabilities or charging more for having one is against the law," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to ensuring that landlords comply with fair housing laws and provide the accommodations that may be necessary for tenants with disabilities to have the same opportunities to enjoy their homes.”

According to HUD’s charge, the mother and her daughter were aware of the housing provider’s “no-pet policy” when they moved in and did not contest it at that time.  Later, recalling that the Labrador retriever who previously lived with them had alleviated stress for her daughter, the mother asked the owners to permit the daughter to have a dog live with them, and provided documentation of the need for the animal from the daughter’s pediatrician and therapist.  The owners denied the request, stating, “We are not intending to modify the ‘no pet policy’ on our property.” The owners further stated that if the mother insisted on bringing the dog in to help her daughter to better cope with her condition, they would collect a $200 deposit and charge an extra $25 per month more for rent.

The mother and child eventually moved out of the building to another apartment, which cost more and was much farther from the child’s school. 

HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to aggrieved persons for the discrimination.

The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines in order to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to aggrieved persons.

FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

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Braley Announces $425,000 for Port Security in the Quad Cities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Kira Ayish   
Thursday, 25 August 2011 10:03

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced $425,000 in grant money for port security efforts in Bettendorf and Le Claire.

The Bettendorf Fire Department has been awarded $250,000 and Scott County has been awarded $175,000 to improve security and risk management at ports in Bettendorf and Le Claire.

“This grant money will help ensure the safety of the Quad Cities and other communities along the Mississippi,” Braley said. “The river is vital to Iowa’s economy and Iowa agriculture.  I’m committed to making sure our ports are secure, and today’s funding will help keep Iowa families and businesses safe.”

These federal grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and distributed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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USDA Official Meets Iowa Business Leaders to Discuss Collaborative Ways to Win Back the Future of Rural America PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 13:51

CHARLES CITY, Iowa – July 26, 2011 – USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein met with businesses leaders from north central Iowa today to discuss ways local communities and businesses can collaborate with state and federal agencies to help improve economic conditions and create jobs. The meeting today was part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials on behalf of the White House Business Council and White House Rural Council. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is the chair of the White House Rural Council.

"Today's roundtable was a tremendous opportunity for me to learn about the challenges local businesses owners are facing and what type of opportunities they see ahead," said Adelstein. "It was clear that creating new job opportunities is extremely important for rural Iowans. The federal government, through its various programs, is committed to helping improve economic opportunities in rural America."

In the last 10 years 66 of Iowa's 99 counties saw a population decline, with counties in north central Iowa facing some of the largest population losses of any area of the state. Floyd County, which includes Charles City, recorded a 3.5 percent population loss in the 2010 Census compared to 2000 figures. Of the eight counties surrounding Floyd County only one has managed to gain population since 2000.

White House Business Council members plan to host roundtables in at least 100 communities across the country by year-end. The purpose of these roundtables is to listen to local businesses and get feedback on how the Administration can best support their growth. It is also to make sure that local business leaders are taking advantage of the Administration resources and programs designed to help them create jobs and compete.

The meetings give an opportunity for government leaders to hear directly from business leaders around the country about their ideas on how to grow the economy. This exchange also is intended to educate business and community leaders about USDA programs and other the resources within the federal government to help them compete and expand.

In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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HUD AND NEIGHBORWORKS® AMERICA EXTEND DEADLINE FOR EMERGENCY HOMEOWNERS’ LOAN PROGRAM PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by HUD Public Affairs   
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 13:20

WASHINGTON Today the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and NeighborWorks® America announced that the deadline for the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program has been extended to Wednesday, July 27, 2011, in order to give homeowners at risk of foreclosure in the participating 27 states and Puerto Rico more time to apply for the program.

The Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP) will assist homeowners who have experienced a reduction in income and are at risk of foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment or underemployment, due to economic conditions or a medical condition.

Eligible homeowners can qualify for an interest free loan, which pays a portion of their monthly mortgage for up to two years, or up to $50,000, whichever comes first.

Homeowners are encouraged to visit www.FindEHLP.org to find contact information for participating agencies, the Pre-Applicant Screening Worksheet and more information on the EHLP assistance and its eligibility requirements.  Homeowners may also call the toll free hotline -- 855-FIND-EHLP (346-3345) – for this information as well.

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Harkin Announces More Than $6 Million for Community Development and Housing in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Harkin Press Office   
Monday, 18 July 2011 10:40

WASHINGTON D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that $6,622,682 will go to housing development programs for five communities in Iowa. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) and HOME awards. These programs provide financing, development and improvement to public housing projects throughout the country. Harkin is a senior member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds HUD.

“Grants that HUD provide are vital for the growth and prosperity of our communities in Iowa,” Harkin said. “For those who are feeling the effects of these tough economic times, this funding creates opportunity for assistance to those in need to acquire quality, affordable housing.”

Details of the Funding are below.

$445,371—Ames (CDBG)
$1,187,806—Cedar Rapids (CDBG)
$454,799—Cedar Rapids (HOME)
$1,575,490—Davenport (CDBG)
$627,435—Davenport (HOME)
$1,739,510—Sioux City (CDBG)
$84,173—Sioux City (ESG)
$484,857—Sioux City (HOME)
$213,241—West Des Moines (CDBG)

 
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