December 2014

Date: 
12/29/2014 - 12:00pm

MFHC Now Offers Housing

Mobility Support to Section 8 Recipients!

The Massachusetts Fair Housing Center is very excited to introduce its new Housing Mobility Support (HMS) Program.  The program began this summer with the generous support of the Holyoke Housing Authority.  It is designed to empower Section 8 recipients to access neighborhoods of their choice by providing housing counseling and support.  Participants define their opportunity priorities and work individually with a counselor to meet those goals through a targeted housing search.  Section 8 recipients committed to accessing, or remaining within, neighborhoods offering improved opportunities are eligible.  The HMS counselor can assist in various capacities including advocating for extensions of search time, conducting neighborhood analyses, referring discriminatory incidents for enforcement, and connecting successful participants to resources in their new neighborhood.

Our first HMS participant, PR, received her Section 8 voucher on July 30, 2014. She had until September 30 to find her next home.  At the time PR and her family lived in Holyoke’s Jarvis Avenue neighborhood which she considered a safe environment for her children.  PR was determined to use her Section 8 voucher to reside in a neighborhood in northern or central Holyoke.  From August-October 2014, an HMS counselor assisted PR with her online housing search. During that period, the HMS counselor sent PR approximately 34online advertisements and conducted two housing discrimination investigations.  PR found an apartment in Elmwood, a neighborhood located in south central Holyoke.  PR valued this location because her children would be able to attend the same school and it is located in a census tract with less concentrated poverty than in her original neighborhood.

The HMS program is a pilot program, developed with funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Our hope is to obtain additional funding and enlarge the scope of the program to provide greater housing choice for Section 8 recipients in communities of opportunity and to decrease the extreme racial and economic segregation that characterizes Western Massachusetts.  For more information, please contact Rebecca López at (413) 539-9796, ext. 107.

Help us eliminate housing discrimination against Section 8 recipients

There are multiple barriers that limit the ability of Section 8 recipients to access housing of their choice.  Rampant housing discrimination is one of them. Many landlords advertise their refusal to accept Section 8.  These advertisements are not only misleading, they are illegal under the state anti-discrimination laws. The illegal advertisement reprinted above was posted in the Western Massachusetts apartment rental listings of Craigslist on December 29, 2014.  It states that the apartment is “Not setup for Section 8 or HAP.” Please help us protect the rights of Section 8 recipients to find homes free from all forms of housing discrimination.  If you see an ad like this (and there were at least two others published that same day) please contact MFHC at 413-539-9796 or info@massfairhousing.org.

Our Annual Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference is Scheduled for April 30-May 1, 2015.

 

We hope to see you at our conference in April. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015!