A Citizen, Pro Se

April 9, 2008

A quick summary of the situation

Filed under: Uncategorized — acitizenprose @ 9:11 pm

Yesterday I posted a static page here — my April 8 2008 email to HUD/FHEO’s Kim Kendrick, Kenneth J. Carroll, Lynn Grosso, and others (see sidebar).  Amusingly, all three of those mentioned are out of the office for at least a week, Grosso for the full month of April — April is National Fair Housing Month, you see, and they all have Places to Go, People to Meet.  But Kim Kendrick’s email autoreply kindly reminded me: ‘Fair Housing — it’s not an option, it’s the law!’

Nice motto, Kim.  Here’s hoping you’ll make the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, and all of HUD/FHEO’s FHAP (investigation/enforcement) agencies put it into practice .  Making sure they take the time to actually include evidence in the case file would be a good place to start.

Also yesterday, someone at dKos (www.dailykos.com) posted a diary on disabilities.  I posted a comment or two, and included a link to my Kendrick/Carroll email.  The diarist responded with all the usual suggestions — basically boiling down to, ‘can you get an attorney, or find an advocacy group to pursue this for you?’  Well, the answer to that is — of course not! — I live in Indiana.  The diarist also focused his response to me around the issue of having a service animal — which is only one aspect of the case.  That led me to write another comment, which seems like such a nice summary of the situation that I’ll include it here:

 The case has become two issues —

The first issue, the case itself, is pretty straightforward, particularly in light of the HUD ALJ decision in Sec v Country Manor (2001). The Respondent’s (Landlord’s) documents (service animal contracts) are direct documentary evidence of imposing ‘terms and conditions of residency’ on a sub-class of protected tenants. This direct evidence, along with every other piece of substantive evidence, has been excluded from the case file by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.

The larger issue here is the Indiana agency’s indifference to the case-handling requirements spelled out in 24 CFR — requirements which are the basis for their certification as a FHAP (enforcement) agency, as well as for their authority and their funding. The Indiana agency is treating the Federal law and regulations as optional — and the Regional and Federal levels of HUD/FHEO appear to be supporting them in this.

In recent years, the GAO published several reports on HUD/FHEO enforcement, and the National Council on Disability (NCD) released a report (‘Reconstructing Fair Housing’). All of these reports focused on the fact that there is no uniform nationwide enforcement of the Fair Housing Act — enforcement varies widely by Region, state, and locality. Thus any indivdual’s rights depend on where s/he lives, rather than on the Federally-defined standards.

So this is really not about service animals — or even about my personal rights. It is about the right of every citizen who is a member of a Fair Housing Act protected class to expect that any complaint they may bring will be investigated fairly and completely as the law and regulations describe.

****End of dKos post

Anne E. here.  Just in passing, I’ll mention that I didn’t originally intend to use this WordPress site as a blog — I had intended it as a website, a collection of static pages chronicling this last year’s mis-handling of my Fair Housing Act civl rights complaint by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC).  I’ll continue to work on posting, as static pages, all the evidence I have in my possession — most of which was excluded from the case record by the ICRC.  I’ll also begn to include pages about the laws and regulations that the ICRC is supposed to comply with while investigating civil rights complaints.  This will be a slow and laborious process, but I’ve become convinced that it’s my obligation as a citizen to make the handling of my case public, as a way of beginning to educate the public about how HUD/FHEO’s civil rights enforcement process is supposed to work — as opposed to how it works in the ‘real world’.




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