Fair Housing Values and Policies
Knowledge and Training
Leaders can use public forums to place fair housing goals into wider discourse. Written policies should be incorporated into operations and personnel manuals. Fair housing should be covered through in-service training programs. A link to the FairHousingMN.org website (www.fairhousingmn.org) should be featured in agencies' communications.
Many agencies' already have in place means of assessing fair housing performance: AIs, Con Plans and Comp Plans are discussed below. Cities and counties can address these requirements with greater attention and insist that staff integrate the federal and state requirements and set out option for fair housing activities that will result in reduced residential segregation.
Leaders of public agencies should have their performance evaluated in terms of how their divisions show awareness of and are responsive to equal housing imperatives. Designation of fair housing contacts within departments, required training for staff and fair housing enforcement referral protocols are also useful.
Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Policies
In an area benefiting from increased immigrant population, all services, especially ones as basic to survival as housing, need to make sure that communication is effective for people for whom English is a second language. Agencies with federal funding must have LEP plans that address how services can be made available to LEP customers without undue hardship. You can find LEP resources in our library.
Access to Public Services for People with Disabilities
Both overt discrimination and failure to take steps to ensure accessibility to people with disabilities are bad policy and illegal under state and federal law. See the HUD/Department of Justice memos on reasonable accommodations and modifications here.
Affirmative Marketing, Employment and Contracting
Housing developers using federal and state funds are obligated to engage in affirmative marketing of new housing to persons "least likely to apply." The goal is to encourage integration across all communities. Minnesota Housing, the Metropolitan Council and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid are developing an Affirmative Marketing Toolkit to effectively achieve those goals. The Toolkit can be promoted by local agencies for all developments, not only for government funded housing.
Agencies receiving a variety of federal housing funds are also required by the Section 3 regulations to look to people and businesses in low income communities as partners in projects using those funds. (More information can be found on HUD's website here.) Minneapolis and St. Paul have recently taken the lead to promote efforts to include disadvantaged communities in employment and contracting. Click on the links below to learn more about the cities' efforts.