Alliance Online News: Supreme Court Upholds FHA Discrimination Claim, Affirms ‘Disparate Impact’

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Supreme Court Upholds FHA Discrimination Claim, Affirms ‘Disparate Impact’
Last week, June 25, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that a housing policy that has a disparate impact on a group may serve as the basis of a discrimination claim under the Fair Housing Act, even if there is no evidence of intent to discriminate. The ruling affirms this “disparate impact” interpretation of the 1968 law and favors the plaintiff in the case Texas Department of Housing v. Inclusive Communities Project, in which a Texas nonprofit, Inclusive Communities Project, claimed Texas’s practice of disproportionately granting housing tax credits to developers in impoverished, predominantly minority neighborhoods had a discriminatory effect. Under the disparate impact interpretation recognized by the court, Inclusive Communities Project had no burden of proving discriminatory intent to claim the practice was discriminatory.
Read the opinion »
hill update
Senate Committee Passes Spending Bill that Would Provide $40 Million for Youth Homelessness
Last Thursday, June 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up and passed its fiscal year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill. The bill, which passed with a vote of 20-10, includes many of the same funding levels for homeless assistance and affordable housing programs as the Senate Subcommittee's draft bill, including $2.235 billion for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance, $100 million more than the enacted FY 2016 funding level of $2.135 billion. Included in the increase is $40 million for efforts to address youth homelessness.
The bill, which the full Senate is expected to consider in the coming weeks, also provided:
  • Sufficient funds to renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers;
  • $75 million for approximately 10,000 new Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers; and
  • $20 million for 2,500 new Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers.
Bill text, hearing webcast »
Alliance Resource: Summary of HUD’s Notice of Proposed Regulations for ESG Program
In order to assist homeless service providers to understand the new regulations that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program, the Alliance has created a condensed outline of HUD's notice of the proposed regulations. This resource is meant to serve as a guide, not as a substitute for the notice. HUD is seeking feedback to consider in the development of the ESG final rule from providers that have gained insight and experience implementing the program's first interim rule, released in 2011.
The Alliance will be submitting comments on the proposed regulations, and we encourage readers to provide us with their feedback on the ESG program generally and the HUD notice specifically. Submit feedback to the Alliance program and policy analyst Jayme Day by email at
Access the resource »
CMS Releases Bulletin on Using Medicaid to Finance Housing-Related Services
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released an information bulletin for state Medicaid agencies that notes the specific housing-related activities and services that can be reimbursed for Medicaid covered individuals. In conjunction with this release, the Alliance and its partners are encouraging housing and service providers to take note of this informational bulletin and use it as a tool to engage state Medicaid agencies. Joining the Alliance in this push are CSH, the Technical Assistance Collaborative, and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.
More information »
from the blog
Ending Homelessness Today
the official blog of the national alliance to end homelessness
Could Shelter Policies Increase an LGBT Youth's Vulnerability to Sexual Exploitation?
by Sharon McDonald
Earlier this year, the Urban Institute released a report that examines the experiences of young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth who have engaged in “survival sex” in New York City. Survival sex is a term frequently used to describe the exchange of sexual acts for money or goods that people require to live (e.g. food and shelter)
Of all the findings in this compelling report, “Surviving the Streets of New York,” one in particular should give homeless service providers pause: “Many … credited the instability and rules associated with emergency housing with driving them back to the street [and sexual exploitation].”
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Stop and Think about the Homeless Children and Youth Act
by naehblog
Whether you work with unaccompanied youth, families, or single adults experiencing homelessness, I want you to stop and think about the proposed Homeless Children and Youth Act, S.256 and its implications. Frankly it is one of those pieces of legislation that sound awesome until you pull back the curtain. It is not mom and apple pie. There are implications to this that we need to dissect and consider from a funding, operational, and policy perspective. It is possible to think critically about the bill and still be supportive of ending homelessness amongst youth, as well as ending homelessness for children and their families. And yes, there are implications to communities and service providers that customarily do not work with youth or families. S.256 impacts all people experiencing homelessness, funders, service providers, and Continua of Care.
Here are the highlights of S.256.
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Putting out an RFP for a New Rapid Re-Housing Project? Here are 5 Tips for Evaluating Applicants
by Anna Blasco
In this year’s NOFA Registration Notice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is strongly encouraging Continuums of Care (CoCs) to reallocate funding to interventions that more effectively reduce homelessness.
In 2015 you can reallocate funds from existing eligible renewal projects to create new rapid re-housing projects for homeless individuals and families, including unaccompanied youth, who are coming directly from the streets, emergency shelters or who are fleeing domestic violence. If your CoC decided to reallocate funds to fund rapid re-housing through the NOFA process or if you work for a foundation or a local government that wants to fund rapid re-housing, you will probably need to write a Request for Proposals (RFP) and figure out a way to evaluate applications.
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