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Protecting the Fair Housing Rights of Tenants with Mental Health Disabilities in California.

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Presentation on theme: "Protecting the Fair Housing Rights of Tenants with Mental Health Disabilities in California."— Presentation transcript:

1 Protecting the Fair Housing Rights of Tenants with Mental Health Disabilities in California

2 Learning Objectives 1.Explore impact of stigma & discrimination on people with mental health disabilities. 2.Better understand laws that protect people with mental health disabilities from housing discrimination. 3.Develop strategies for complying with fair housing requirements.

3 Overview of Training Agenda 1.Introduction 2.Stereotypes, Stigma & Discrimination 3.State & Federal Fair Housing Laws 4.Step in Analyzing a Fair housing Issue 5.Strategies for Complying with Fair Housing Requirements Feel free to ask questions at any time!

4 DRC SDR Project Goals Reduce stigma & discrimination by -Increasing awareness of laws, policies & practices that address discrimination & support mental health services in non- traditional settings through provision of culturally-relevant and age appropriate training & materials for people with disabilities, their families, providers, and the general population.

5 DRC SDR Project Goals - Identifying laws that contribute to stigma and discrimination & writing policy papers that recommend needed policy changes to reduce or eliminate stigma & discrimination.

6 Stigma & Discrimination

7 What is Stigma? Attitudes and beliefs, based on stereotypes, that lead people to reject, avoid, or fear those they perceive as being different

8 Types of Stigma 1. Public Stigma 2. Institutional Stigma 3. Self Stigma

9 Self Stigma -Self stigma is when a person with a disability accepts the attitudes of society or of the medical community. -Self stigma is rarely discussed, and can lead to hopelessness and helplessness.

10 What are Stereotypes? Exaggerations or untruths about people with mental health disabilities.

11 Examples of Stereotypes Misconceptions that people with mental health disabilities: - Tend to be violent, - Will not get better, - Are unable to care for themselves, or - Are not intelligent These stereotypes can affect the ability of people with mental health disabilities to obtain housing.

12 What is Discrimination? -Discrimination occurs when people act on stigma in ways that deprive others of their rights and life opportunities. -Discrimination and stigma are based on the stereotypes that drive a wedge between us and them.

13 Importance of Housing for People with Mental Health Disabilities Like everyone else, people with mental health disabilities need a safe place to live. Lack of safe housing can make it hard to deal with the issues concerning mental health and potential wellness.

14 Legal Framework and Advocacy Strategies

15 Overview of State and Federal Fair Housing Laws

16 Federal Fair Housing Laws -Fair Housing Amendments Act -Americans with Disabilities Act (Titles II & III) -Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 -HUD Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program - Reasonable Accommodations Provisions

17 California Fair Housing Laws -Fair Employment & Housing Act -Unruh Civil Rights Act -Disabled Persons Act -State Zoning Laws

18 Steps in Analyzing a Fair Housing Issue 1.Is the tenant covered under fair housing laws? 2.Is the housing covered under fair housing laws? 3.Is this special housing covered under other laws (e.g. HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program/Section 8)? 4.Does the conduct in question constitute unlawful discrimination?

19 Steps in Analyzing a Fair Housing Issue (Cont.) 5.Is the tenant requesting a reasonable accommodation? 6.Is the tenant requesting a reasonable modification? 7.Does the tenant pose a substantial threat to the safety or property of others? 8.Does the tenant otherwise meet the requirements of the tenancy? 9.Did the problem occur within the past one or two years?

20 Step 1: Is the Tenant Covered? Fair Housing Act protects these buyers and renters against discrimination on the basis of handicap: -Renters, buyers & applicants -People living with renters, buyers & applicants. -People associated with renters, buyers & applicants (family members, attendants, etc.)

21 Handicap Under the Fair Housing Act, handicap means: 1.A physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; 2.A record of such an impairment; or 3.Being regarded as having such an impairment. 24 CFR § (Cont.)

22 Illegal Drug Use is Not a Handicap Handicap does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance. 24 CFR §

23 Step 2: Is the Housing Covered? Fair housing laws cover a wide range of housing providers and transactions, e.g.: -Landlords -Real estate brokers and realtors -Rentals -Sales -Zoning & land use decisions -Advertising (Cont.)

24 Step 3: Is this Special Housing? Check for special rules that apply to particular types of housing, in addition to fair housing laws, e.g.: -Supportive Housing -Subsidized Housing -Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 Housing -Group Homes -Housing for Older Adults

25 Special Considerations for Supportive Housing -Funding restrictions on target populations -Zoning restrictions -Neighborhood opposition -Housing linked to acceptance of services or other requirements

26 Step 4: Is there Discriminatory Conduct? Unlawful to discriminate in: -Sale or Rental; -Terms, conditions or privileges of sale or rental; -Provision of services or facilities in connection with sale or rental; -Otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling 42 USC §§3601, CFR §§

27 Examples of Discriminatory Practices - Refusal to rent, sell or lend - Different terms or conditions - Discriminatory statements - Lying - Steering - Harassment - Retaliation - Refusing to make reasonable accommodations - Refusing to make reasonable modifications - Inquiring about a persons disability 24 CFR §§100.50,

28 Inquiries about Applicants Disability Unlawful to inquire about the disability of a housing applicant, or anyone associated with, except as necessary to determine: -Ability to meet requirements of ownership or tenancy; -Qualification for disabled-only housing; -Qualification for disability-priority housing; -Current illegal use of controlled substance; or -Conviction for illegal manufacture or distribution of controlled substance 24 CFR §

29 To Discuss 1.Why might a housing provider want to ask a (potential) tenant questions about her disability? 2.Why might a (potential) tenant not want to answer those questions?

30 Step 5: Is the Tenant Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation? Housing providers must make reasonable changes to their rules, policies, practices or services when necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling. 24 CFR §

31 Examples of Reasonable Accommodations for Tenants with Mental Health Disabilities: -Waiving a no-pets rule for a companion animal; -Permitting an applicant or tenant who was recently hospitalized to use a co-signer on a lease in place of a recent rental history; -Providing an apartment in a quiet location in the building A reasonable accommodation can be requested at any time, from application through eviction.

32 The Reasonable Accommodations DANCE D:The tenant must have a disability covered by fair housing laws. A:The tenant must request the accommodation – no magic words are necessary. N:The accommodation must be necessary for the tenant – there must be a nexus between the disability and the accommodations C:The cost of the accommodation cannot impose an undue burden on the landlord E:The effect of the accommodation cannot be a fundamental change to the housing provided

33 Cost & Interactive Process -Landlords bear the cost of reasonable accommodations. -Landlords should engage in an interactive process with a tenant who request an accommodation, even if the landlord thinks the tenant is dangerous.

34 Examples: Undue Burden & Fundamental Alteration -Asking a landlord to hire an outside party to mediate disputes with the landlord; -Asking a landlord to provide attendant care to a tenant with a disability; -Asking a landlord to wait for rent to be paid every other month.

35 Step 6: Is the Tenant Requesting a Reasonable Modification? Housing providers must allow tenants with disabilities to make reasonable changes to the physical premises if necessary to allow them to use and enjoy the premises. 24 CFR § )

36 Examples of Reasonable Modifications for Tenants with Mental Health Disabilities -Allowing a tenant to install soundproofing if noise exacerbates his disability, or if the disability causes the tenant to make noise - Allowing a tenant to install blinds or drapes if her disability makes her sensitive to light

37 More on Reasonable Modifications -Tenant pays for modifications -Interior, exterior or common areas -Workmanlike manner with necessary permits -Requested at any time, from application through eviction -Detailed request in writing -Restoration to original condition -Escrow account

38 Step 7: Is the Tenant a Direct Threat? Tenants are not protected if they pose a direct threat to others or substantial damage to others property, unless a reasonable accommodation would alleviate the threat. Example of accommodation: Working with tenants choice of a third party to resolve disputes

39 Step 8: Does the Tenant Otherwise Meet the Requirements of the Tenancy? Fair housing laws do not affect a tenants obligation to pay rent, provide quiet enjoyment, and otherwise comply with the requirements of the tenancy. But landlords may be required to provide reasonable accommodations to allow a tenant to meet these requirements.

40 Step 9: Did the problem occur within the past one or two years? Fair housing laws have statutes of limitations and filing deadlines. See comparison chart.

41 Hypothetical #1 - Mr. A has been hospitalized for bipolar disorder four times in the past two years. -Before he was diagnosed and hospitalized, he was evicted from Shady Grove apartments for playing loud music in the middle of the night. -In between hospitalizations, he has lived with friends or in homeless shelters. -He has been out of the hospital for six months now, and has adopted a poodle who helps keep him relaxed and calm. -He has applied for an apartment at Sunny Skies Village, requesting a waiver of the no-pets policy for his emotional support dog. -Where the application asks for a reference from his previous landlord, Mr. A has written Not Available.

42 Hypothetical #2 -You are the property manager of Palo Verde Estates. -Ms. B has been your tenant for nine months. -Over the past three months, neighbors have complained that Ms. B has been waking up at around 5:00am, leaning out her window, and screaming obscenities into the courtyard. -When you witnessed a neighbor attempting to confront Ms. B about this behavior, you saw Ms. B yell in her face, push her, and then walk away mumbling things that did not seem to make sense. -Several neighbors have asked you to evict Ms. B on the basis that she is a nuisance and a threat to the community

43 Strategies for Complying with Fair Housing Requirements -Be receptive to input from consumers & advocates. -Tap into community resources. -Collaborate with Consumer & Advocacy Groups -Participate in Coalitions -Example: Room & Board Coalitions

44 To Discuss 1.Can you think of other strategies to help you comply with fair housing requirements? 2. Which of these strategies will be most helpful to you, and how?

45 Resources California Department of Justice Legal Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2003) U.S. Department of Justice & U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice: Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act (2004) Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice: Reasonable Modifications under the Fair Housing Act (2008)

46 Resources, Cont. Disability Rights California Housing Discrimination Fact Sheets (2012) Topics include: Stigma, Stereotypes, Discrimination; Reasonable Accommodations; Reasonable Modifications; Service & Emotional Support Animals; Supportive Housing Psychiatric Service and Emotional Support Animals (2009) Funding Housing Modifications (2006) Reasonable Accommodations Under Section 8 (2006),

47 Resources, Cont. Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Fair Housing Information Sheets Topics include: Stigma, Stereotypes, Discrimination; Reasonable Accommodations; Reasonable Modifications; Service & Emotional Support Animals; Supportive Housing What Fair Housing Means for People with Disabilities (2011)

48 Disability Rights California is funded by a variety of sources, for a complete list of funders, go to Documents/ListofGrantsAndContracts.html.

49 CalMHSA The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) is an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. Prevention and Early Intervention programs implemented by CalMHSA are funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). Prop. 63 provides the funding and framework needed to expand mental health services to previously underserved populations and all of Californias diverse communities.

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