PRESS RELEASE: Protecting Civil & Human Rights During Covid-19 Public Health Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 19, 2020

Contacts: Meg Dubois, CWEALF, mdubois@cwealf.org and Finn Darby-Hudgens, Connecticut Fair Housing Center, finn@ctfairhousing.org

Protecting Civil & Human Rights During Covid-19 Public Health Crisis

(Connecticut) Advocates and attorneys for under-served communities from across the state came together today, March 19, 2020, to send a letter to Governor Lamont that identifies a growing list of concerns for their clients during the Covid-19 public health care crisis. The letter lists concerns for several populations including people currently incarcerated, low-income workers, immigrants, people who are homeless, families with limited housing stability, people with disabilities, youth in the justice system, people in policed communities, people without health insurance, people in psychiatric facilities, people with food insecurities, and people without paid leave as the populations that will be most disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 public health crisis.

The letter outlines provisions that the state should take as a part of their response to this pandemic. Recommendations include provisions for:

  • Improved workplace safety and paid sick days and paid leave for healthcare and frontline workers;
  • Protections for Connecticut residents currently being held in immigration detention centers outside of the state;
  • Real and effective eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to provide housing stability for low income;
  • A call for decarceration and “action for preventing lockdowns and solitary confinement; access to healthcare, hygiene supplies, schooling, and free phone calls;
  • A temporary suspension of termination for all federally reimbursed assistance programs;
  • Protections for pregnant women and uninsured children;
  • Increased access to the Internet for low-income youth

The signing organizations make a final plea to the state’s leadership for “transparency regarding membership of the state’s emergency response teams and daily, public briefings regarding the state’s emergency response plans for disproportionately impacted residents” and welcomes working in a coordinated way with the Governor’s emergency operation teams.

For comment and quotes on specific concerns referenced in the letter please follow the contact list link here to be directed towards the correct organization. It is our collective impact strategy to provide space for agency and industry experts to comment appropriately.

Important Notice on Covid-19 & Fair Housing Protections

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Center is working to better understand and address any fair housing impacts of Covid-19.

FAIR HOUSING AND THE CURRENT COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The fair housing laws can protect people who are infected with Covid-19 and those who are perceived as being infected.

FAIR HOUSING, NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINATION AND COVID-19

The state and federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination based on national origin. This means:

• It is illegal to deny you housing or shelter because you are from one of the countries most affected by Covid-19 or are perceived as being from such a country.

• It is illegal to have different rules for you than for everyone else because you are from one of the countries most affected by Covid-19 or are perceived as being from such a country.

• It is illegal for a landlord to send you a Notice to Quit or try to evict you because you are from one of the countries most affected by Covid-19 or are perceived as being from such a country.

FAIR HOUSING, DISABILITY AND COVID-19

State and federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination based on disability. If you are infected with Covid-19, you are considered disabled under the state and federal fair housing laws and may be protected from discrimination.

• If you do not have Covid-19 but a landlord or housing provider denies you housing or shelter because they believe you have the virus, this is illegal and you should call the Center.

• If you do not have Covid-19 but a landlord or housing provider quarantines you or imposes different rules on you because they believe you have the virus, this is illegal and you should call the Center. If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and you have been denied housing or shelter or had different rules imposed on you should contact the Center so we can discuss and explain how the fair housing laws apply to your situation.

Please see our Notice on Fair Housing Protections against discrimination during this public health emergency. En Español: Vivienda Justa y Covid-19.

2020 Fair Lending & Mortgage Clinics

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center will hold a series of Fair Lending & Mortgage Clinics this year throughout the state. The clinics will address questions and concerns about applying for a home loan without discrimination, keeping a mortgage, and foreclosure prevention. The clinics are open to anyone applying for a home loan or any homeowner facing foreclosure. The clinics are FREE, and no pre-registration is required.

Clinic participants will receive information about fair lending laws, the home loan application process, the judicial foreclosure and mediation process, guidance on how to prepare and what documents to bring to court, and information about resources available to homeowners.

After the presentations, participants will also have the opportunity to meet with attorneys to discuss their individual situations.

A list of the clinic locations and dates is available here. If you have any questions, please let us know at info@ctfairhousing.org.

*NOTE: The Clinic scheduled on March 24, 2020, in partnership with the Mutual Housing Association of Greater Hartford, has been CANCELLED due to public health concerns related to Covid-19. We will do our best to reschedule this clinic at a later date.

Defend Civil Rights in Housing!

Join us for Comments & Cocktails… and Call on HUD to Defend Civil Rights in Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing to gut the longstanding legal tool known as disparate impact under the Fair Housing Act, that would destroy a 45-year-old protection against housing discrimination and would pave the way for widespread harm to millions of people.

We are hosting a Comments Party on September 26, 2019 from 4:30-6:00PM at the Connecticut Fair Housing Center to raise awareness of the proposed changes and encourage people to submit a comment, urging HUD to reconsider the proposed changes. We will have refreshments, information about disparate impact, and sample comments so that we can help achieve the goal of submitting 100,000 comments to HUD.

Join us, invite your friends, and help to defend civil rights in Housing! Please RSVP at www.ctfairhousing.org/comments-party.

Can’t make it Hartford for Comments & Cocktails? You can submit comments here and learn more about HUD’s proposed attack on civil rights at defendcivilrights.org.

Ending Sexual Harassment in Housing – Seminar

The Norwalk Fair Housing Advisory Commission, in partnership with the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, will host a seminar on Ending Sexual Harassment in Housing on September 18, 2019 at the Norwalk City Hall.

The following presenters will speak about ways to address and prevent sexual harassment in Housing:

Nancy Gifford, Esq., Assistant US Attorney with US Department of Justice

Ndidi Moses, Esq., Assistant US Attorney with US Department of Justice

Greg Kanaan, Equal Opportunity Specialist, HUD FHEO Office, Hartford

Erin Kemple, Esq., Executive Director, Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Hartford

If you would like to attend the seminar, please complete the Registration Form to select a session. The morning and afternoon sessions will address the same content, so you may register to attend one of two sessions.

Translate »