FHCSP Sponsors the Bucks, Delaware, and Chester County Homeownership Fairs.
Chester County Mobile Home Park Pays $50,000 to Settle Federal Housing Discrimination Lawsuit
Glenn Brown and the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia (FHCSP) settled a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) complaint and federal lawsuit against the Horning Farm Agency, Inc. for violating the familial status provision of the federal Fair Housing Act and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
Glenn Brown lived by himself in a two bedroom home in Loags Corner Mobile Home Park in Elverson, PA, which is owned and operated by Horning Farm Agency, Inc. Several years ago, a sign was put up within the community identifying it as a "FUTURE ADULT COMMUNITY" despite numerous young families living there. Mr. Brown purchased another home in October, 2006 and listed his house in Loags Corner for sale. Families had expressed an interest in Brown's home but because Loags Corner would not consider any prospective tenants with children, he had been unable to sell it.
Glenn Brown contacted FHCSP and the Council conducted an investigation. FHCSP determined that Horning Farm Agency's sales policies were discriminatory against families with children, as it tried to illegally convert its mobile home parks into a 55 and over. James Berry, FHCSP's Executive Director, stated, "There are specific HUD guidelines on how to convert existing housing to age restricted housing without violating the familial status provisions of the Fair Housing Act. By ignoring these guidelines, Horning Farm Agency and Loags Corner Mobile Park denied families with children an affordable housing opportunity in Chester County".
In April, 2007, Glenn Brown and FHCSP filed a complaint with HUD and filed suit in federal district court against Horning Farm Agency, Inc. On July 23, 2007, the parties agreed to a settlement in which Horning Farm Agency, Inc. paid $50,000 to Glenn Brown and FHCSP, which included the cost of the attorney fees. Horning Farm Agency, Inc. admitted no wrongdoing and agreed to change their policy to allow families with children to move into the community. In addition, Horning Farm Agency, Inc. agents will attend fair housing training to ensure continued compliance with the Fair Housing Act.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in any aspect of the sale, rental, insuring, financing or advertising of dwellings on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex or familial status (the presence of children in the family) and disability. HUD issued a statement of policy clarifying the process for converting a community to Housing for Older Persons. This memo states that in order to legally convert, 80% of the units must be occupied by someone age 55 or over. Prior to reaching the 80% threshold, a community cannot reserve units for person 55 and over or advertise itself as a 55 and over community. Families with children who are qualified and want to occupy a unit in the community must be allowed to do so. If a community reaches the 80% threshold without discriminating against families with children, it can legally begin the process of conversion. Loags Corner Mobile Home Park did not achieve the 80% threshold required to begin the process for conversion.
For more information on conversion of 55 and over communities, visit our Laws webpage. You can read the HOPA guidelines in their entirety online.
FHCSP Celebrates 50th Anniversary
As we enter our 50th year anniversary, the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia (FHCSP) continues to work for the rights of all residents of the region to have equal access to the housing of their choice regardless of their race, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or because they have children in their family.
Since FHCSP's beginning in 1956 as the Committee for Democracy in Housing for Lansdowne and Vicinity, we have been a leader in the struggle to ensure that all people are guaranteed an equal right to housing. Beginning with a small group of concerned citizens in Eastern Delaware County advocating for all of their neighbors to have equal rights and opportunities, FHCSP has evolved over the years into an organization serving the residents of the four suburban counties as well as those in the City of Philadelphia with education and enforcement programs that have been nationally recognized for their effectiveness and innovation.
During our 50 year history, FHCSP's enforcement efforts have made 46,576 units of housing in the Delaware Valley available on a nondiscriminatory basis to members of protected classes, and our education programs have made countless consumers and housing providers aware of their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
Unfortunately, despite our hard work, members of our society continue to be discriminated against every day in our neighborhoods because of their race, because of their disabilities, and because they have children. FHCSP continues to receive dozens of phone calls each year from people who have been treated unfairly in their search for housing. We are confident that you individuals and organizations will reflect upon the importance of fair housing to our community and our region, both over the past half century and into the future.
We have compiled a Newspaper Headline with excerpts from the past 50 years that speak to the continuing need for education, enforcement, and advocacy around the issue of equal access to housing.
Fair housing is not a privilege. It is a right.
Please help us to continue to address this critical need. We hope that at this important point in FHCSP's history, you will take this opportunity to support the principles of equality and fairness by making a contribution of $50 to celebrate 50 years of fair housing in the Delaware Valley. Click here to
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