Category Archives: Fair Housing
Is your club truly private? Piper the Service Dog vs. Boca Ciega Yacht Club
Piper is a dog, but she also has an uncanny talent for killing bees. This talent has aided her partner, Samantha Ring, who lives with severe allergies to bees and sunflower seeds and has a history of anaphylactic reactions to both. Piper saved Ms. Ring’s life by killing a bee while Ms. Ring was out on her boat without her EpiPen, so she decided to keep Piper and train her to be a service dog. On July 12, 2021, Piper the Dog finally got her day. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his partner’s case and found that there are certain questions of fact that need to be resolved before deeming the Boca Ciega Yacht Club in Gulfport Florida, a “private club” for purposes of the private club exemption under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Valuing and Devaluing the Disabled Human Life in Florida
The response to this outbreak is far from the empathetic “American Way,” but instead, we have lapsed into the Hobbesian ethic, where we deny essential testing to the most vulnerable, deny scarce life-saving equipment, rationalize the denial by claiming that the old and disabled would have died in any event. Then to place insult onto the injury, Florida may immunize those who deny care from total immunity. Even in the event we are overreacting to this pandemic, it still should be a clear signal that disability discrimination may be the only tenet that will be alive and well in our society.
Changes to Florida Statutes that Effect Civil Rights and Fair Housing in Florida
By: Matthew Dietz During the 2020 legislative session, there has been significant changes in statutes that prohibit discrimination in the State of Florida. These changes affect the way that civil rights claims are processed by the administrative agency that investigates such claims, the rights of claimants for they day in court, and it also… Read More »
What to do with your Emotional Support Unicorn? – HUD’s New Guidance on Assistance Animals
On January 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published new guidance on Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act. The goal of the document is to provide both housing providers and persons with disabilities guidance on what is required to… Read More »
City of Tampa Files Race and Gender Discrimination in Housing Case
Ms. Washington was targeted by a housing provider who felt emboldened to prey on a vulnerable resident who could not move to a new location because of the lack of affordable housing options. For months, Ms. Washington was subject to racial and sexual harassment, false reports to authorities so she would have her children removed or housing vouchers revoked, harassment of her guests because of their color, and a wrongful eviction.
Are you requesting to saddle the camel or cut off its hump? Reasonable accommodations under disability rights laws
By Matthew W. Dietz, Esq. On September 18th, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided Schaw v. Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County, in a very easy to read opinion that spelled out the process for determining whether an accommodation for a disability is reasonable and necessary. U.S. Circuit Court Judge Kevin Newsom, the… Read More »
Will Arnaldo Rios-Soto see Justice, or does Justice see Disability as Dangerous?
As a disability advocate, and as Arnaldo Rios-Soto’s lawyer, the trial of Officer Aledda is a watershed moment. Will Arnaldo be deemed to be inherently dangerous because he is different? Will there be a stereotype that because Arnaldo lives with a developmental disability, the fact that he was targeted was justified? I hope not.
AFTEREFFECT – A SWAT team, an autistic man, an American tragedy.
Aftereffect is a podcast produced by WYNC Studios, and hosted by Audrey Quinn. In this series, Audrey weaves Arnaldo Rios-Soto’s story and explains how Florida is ill-equipped to provide adequate community-based services for him, and what he went through. The synopsis of the eight episode series is as follows: In the summer of… Read More »
Medical Marijuana – Effects on Your Home and Job
By: Matthew Dietz On November 8th, over 71% of Florida voters approved Amendment 2, which explicitly allowed medical marijuana to be provided as a treatment for patients with the following disabilities: “cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),… Read More »
A Landlord Cannot Force you to Declaw your Emotional Support Cat or Charge you a Cleaning Deposit for your Emotional Support Dog!
For a person with depression and anxiety, an emotional support animal provides the impetus to wake up in the morning and go to school or work. For Austin Cline, a student at Hillsborough Community College, Luna, his dog, gives him the ability to leave his parents house, go to college and then go… Read More »
Making your home and property accessible for persons with disabilities following a hurricane
In times of disasters, most people focus on rebuilding, increasing accessibility for persons with disabilities does not register as important or necessary. However, not only are accessible alterations required by law, they are frequently covered by most insurance policies as compliance with code or ordinance of law.
No Wheelchair Users Allowed in a Miami Beach Condo!
Turns out that the least of Abbot House Condominium’s worries should have been whether Rachel Siler would not be able to get around in her wheelchair and would injure herself. Maybe instead of assuming she was an invalid who sleeps with her personal assistant, the Condominium Board should have started with the premise that she had a job, a life, and a passion for helping others. The real liability was the failure to acknowledge Rachel Siler as the die-hard disability advocate who works to help others destroy attitudinal barriers and harmful stereotypes.
Litigation: Is Your Child A Runner?
Some children with autism, developmental or intellectual disabilities may wander off without any comprehension of possible danger. This might include running off from adults at school or in the community, leaving the classroom without permission, or leaving the house when the family is not looking. While most children are drawn to water, many autistic… Read More »
KARL HUNT – SUPERHERO OF FAIR HOUSING
Karl Hunt- SUPERHERO of Fair Housing. Karl stood up for his rights and held firm despite the hardship in doing so. He paved the way for many other persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities to live in their homes, and not to get bullied or evicted because of their disabilities.
Rotary Club of Harris County– Meeting their community’s needs
By Sharon Langer The Rotary Club of Harris County Georgia has a 17 year history of service to their community. I was privileged to join them this month at a summer breakfast meeting and hear about a unique project they started for persons with disabilities. I am hoping that by writing about this project… Read More »
Litigation – Fair Housing Reasonable Accommodations – Hey Mr. Landlord, please can you make one little change so I can live in my home?
Many landlords believe that the terms and conditions of the apartments they rent are not subject to modification – it’s “take it or leave it.” But the Fair Housing Act requires landlords to make modifications to rules, policies or procedures so that tenants with disabilities can have the same opportunities to live in a home and in an integrated community.
DIG Litigation Update – $625,000 settlement to ensure accessibility in Section 8 project based housing developments.
On April 17, 2015, Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. (HOPE) and six residents of two developments in Miami Gardens and Opa-Locka, Florida settled a lawsuit with Charter Management and Miami Property Group, and obtained significant changes in the policies and procedures of their housing development to ensure that all residents are able to… Read More »
Happy Fair Housing Month
April is Fair Housing Month and the time to celebrate the anniversary of the enactment of the Fair Housing Act. Many of you may be asking- “what exactly is the Fair Housing Act, and what are my fair housing rights?”- so here is a brief overview of the Fair Housing Act and some of… Read More »