July 27, 2017

A Fair Housing Hero on the Frontlines

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Photo: Susie McClannahan.

It is hard to believe housing discrimination still exists in America nearly 50 years after the Fair Housing Act was signed into law. But the battle against unfair housing practices in neighborhoods across this country continues, even in our own nation’s capital.

Susie McClannahan is a fair housing hero who is on the frontlines of fighting housing discrimination.  As a Fair Housing Intake and Grant Coordinator with the Equal Rights Center in Washington, DC, Susie answered her phone a few months ago knowing it could be one of the many clients she helps every day. On the other end of the line was an older, disabled woman   who needed help.  For months, she had been asking her landlord to fix a broken accessible door opener to her apartment building. The issue had made it difficult for her to leave her apartment to run errands, and forced her to wait outside during extreme weather. To go about her daily life, she had to rely on others to open the door for her.

Acting on the woman’s behalf, Susie sent a request for reasonable accommodation to the landlord, which resulted in the quick repair of the automated door opener. The resident was absolutely elated to be able to enter and exit her own building without the help of others.  Another small victory for fairness.

“Many people who experience housing discrimination aren’t aware of their rights. I frequently answer calls from individuals that know an experience they had was unethical, but they aren’t sure whether or not it was illegal,” Susie said. “By informing people about their rights under the federal Fair Housing Act and local laws, they can take action to address the harm they’ve experienced and ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

The Equal Rights Center is a HUD fair housing partner. The group recently launched a new advice column where Susie and her colleagues respond to concerns expressed by the public.  For helping others every day, and for representing the highest ideals of fairness in housing, Susie is a hero. But she sees it differently.

“The real heroes are the people I serve every day,” she said. “These heroes courageously report housing discrimination; they fight to be treated with respect and dignity and ensure others don’t have to experience the trauma that they went through. I am so grateful to our Greater Washington community of superheroes that stand on the frontlines to build a more equitable region, free of housing discrimination.”

July 26, 2017

A Homeownership Hero

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When a family is looking to purchase their first home, or a homeowner is faced with foreclosure, they often turn to a HUD-approved housing counselor for help. Housing counselors are on the front lines of helping people find and keep  what is for many their greatest financial investment – their home.  Lauren McLaughlin is one of those heroes.  Continue reading

July 11, 2017

Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly First to Reach Multifamily Affordable Housing Energy Efficiency Goal – Ahead of Schedule

Staff fondly call it “Boston’s best kept secret” in affordable housing. But now the national spotlight has found Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE), which this spring became the nation’s first multifamily affordable housing provider to achieve the Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) goal, achieving an impressive 24 percent energy savings in just six years. Continue reading