Fair Housing Action Plan
The purpose of the Fair Housing Action Plan is to promote the goals of fair housing and equal opportunity by assuring that Newton is a diverse, welcoming community free of housing discrimination. This purpose is carried out through the implementation of an affirmative fair housing plan of action involving the City, its citizens, and its public and quasi-public housing agencies, private developers, and non-profit housing, real estate and lending organizations.
The City of Newton, MA, has been a longtime leader in the effort to foster and maintain a diverse community. Since March of 2005, the City has become even more proactive in its opposition to discriminatory practices and attitudes that diminish opportunities for broadening diversity in the community. The housing crisis in the region has severe consequences for all residents, but particularly for those homebuyers and renters with limited resources. The housing problem is even more amplified for people of protected classes. Supporting Newton’s cherished diversity is a fundamental goal. The City of Newton believes that diversity should not only be welcomed but should also be actively sought. To achieve diversity, individuals and families of protected classes must be able to find and maintain suitable housing at affordable costs. Furthermore, without more fair housing training and education and outreach programs, the segregation and discrimination prevalent in the region’s housing market will continue to be unchallenged and unchanged.To find out more about Newton’s Fair Housing Action Plan contact Trisha Guditz, Housing Programs Manager, at email@example.com or 617-796-1156.
FY11-15 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice
Recipients of federal housing funds such as Newton are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to identify obstacles that prevent or challenge a community’s ability or commitment to provide housing and services to individuals and families who are members of protected classes. The FY11-15 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (FY11-15 AI) analyzes and records the institutional and socio-economic barriers that make it difficult for a community to widen and diversify its welcome. Goals and objectives in the FY11-15 AI are designed to identify and mitigate the obstacles to fair housing choice. Hard copies of all reports can also be requested at the Planning and Development Department in the lower level of Newton City Hall. The Planning and Development Department will provide materials in alternative formats to accommodate persons with disabilities. Limited English Proficiency services are also available. Requests may be made by calling (617) 796-1146 by TDD/TTY (617) 796-1089 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Newton’s FY11-15 AI, contact Robert Muollo, Jr., Housing Development Planner, at email@example.com or (617) 796-1146.
Ramping Up: Planning for a More Accessible Newton
At the request of the Newton Fair Housing Committee, the Newton Planning and Development Department commissioned an analysis on the City's efforts to assure the accessibility of housing and related facilities for persons with disabilities. The intent of the report, entitled Ramping Up: Planning for a More Accessible Newton, is to assist the City of Newton to move toward full access for persons with disabilities and their families.
The review evaluates how the various departments of Newton City government and the Newton Housing Authority manage the requirements, policies and procedures that pertain to accessibility, and recommends ways in which the City and the Newton Housing Authority can be supportive of such needs. The report was prepared by Barbara Chandler of the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, a regional housing support organization with expertise in the area of accessibility. For more information about this report, please contact Robert Muollo, Jr., Housing Development Planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 796 – 1146.
Architectural Accessibility Action Plan
The Architectural Accessibility Action Plan was developed in January, 2012 by the Newton Fair Housing Committee, whose role is to promote fair and equal housing opportunities in Newton for all persons. The Action Plan identifies priorities for action that stem from the recommendations made by Ramping Up: Planning for a More Accessible Newton that, if implemented, will become significant steps in eliminating impediments to fair housing choice in Newton for people with disabilities. The Action Plan organizes these priorities by identifying action steps for implementation including the role(s) of the Newton Fair Housing Committee, and by identifying and prioritizing other parties whose involvement is essential in ensuring successful implementation. The Fair Housing Committee is currently working with Housing staff to implement these actions. For more information about the Architectural Accessibility Action Plan, please contact Robert Muollo, Jr., Housing Development Planner, at email@example.com or (617) 796 – 1146.
Fair Housing Center’s 2006 Housing Discrimination Audit Report to the City of Newton
Intent on determining the extent and nature of discrimination present in the Newton housing market, the Newton Fair Housing Task Force contracted with the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston (Fair Housing Center) to conduct testing in the city. This contract is the first the Fair Housing Center has conducted with a municipality in its service area of 147 cities and towns. The Fair Housing Center’s Housing Discrimination Audit Report to the City of Newton presents a summary of the methods the Fair Housing Center used in conducting the investigations; describes the laws and regulations relevant to the investigations; details the findings with information on the occurrences of discrimination and examples of the types of discriminatory behavior encountered by testers; discusses the presence of discrimination in the region’s housing market; and offers a series of recommendations for further action.
Summary of Rental Audit Findings
During the months of September and October 2005, the Fair Housing Center conducted twenty-four paired rental tests at real estate agencies and management companies with units in the City of Newton. The tests were designed to reveal whether their rental practices show any signs of discrimination against prospective tenants. The Fair Housing Center conducted testing for discrimination against four protected classes, familial status, source of income involving Section 8 vouchers, race involving African Americans, and national origin with different national origin backgrounds. Overall, rental testing showed discrimination in 11 of the 24 paired tests conducted, or 45.8%.
Summary of Sales Audit Findings
In January and February 2006, the Fair Housing Center conducted 10 paired sales tests at real estate agencies listing properties for sale the city of Newton. The Fair Housing Center conducted testing for discrimination against African Americans and Latinos. Overall, the Fair Housing Center found evidence of discrimination in 4 of the 10 tests conducted. 3 revealed evidence of discrimination based on race or national origin. A fourth test showed evidence of familial status discrimination in the form of a discriminatory statement made to one tester.
The Disability Law Center’s 2007 Disability Discrimination Audit Report for the City of Newton
Between May and November 2006, Disability Law Center’s conducted a fair housing audit in the city of Newton, Massachusetts. The goal of the Disability Discrimination Audit was to study Newton’s housing market for discrimination against people with disabilities and provide the Newton Fair Housing Task Force and the Mayor's Committee For People With Disabilities with a summary of the audit's findings and recommendations on ensuring fair housing for all persons regardless of physical or mental impairment.
The Disability Law Center’s Disability Discrimination Audit of the Newton, Massachusetts housing market revealed significant barriers to equal housing opportunities for individuals with disabilities across all disability categories. Compared to home seekers without disabilities, individuals with disabilities face discrimination by private landlords, real estate agents and providers of non-subsidized housing at rates that meet or exceed those encountered by members of other protected categories.
Although the rates of discrimination vary widely by type of housing sought, and overall 48 percent of tests exposed evidence of discrimination. Summary of Findings:
- Overall, evidence of discrimination was found in 48% of the 52 tests conducted.
- Of tests conducted involving private, non-subsidized rental housing, evidence of discrimination was found in 54%.
- Within private, non-subsidized rental housing, evidence of discrimination in the form of differential treatment was found in 67%.
- Within private, non-subsidized rental housing, evidence of discrimination in the form of a failure to provide reasonable accommodation was found in 36%.
- Within private, non-subsidized rental housing, evidence of discrimination in the form of a failure to allow reasonable modification of a unit was found in 40%.
- Of tests involving subsidized rental housing, no evidence of discrimination was found.
- Of tests involving properties for sale in Newton, evidence of discrimination was found in 62.5%.
Guidelines for Uniform Local Resident Selection Preferences in Affordable Housing
These Guidelines have been established by the Newton Fair Housing Committee and adopted by the Newton Planning and Development Department for the use of resident selection preferences in affordable housing that is subject to the oversight of the City of Newton, either through funding or by regulation. The Guidelines are intended for use in affordable rental and homeownership programs that utilize a lottery at initial distribution of the units and upon resale. They are intended to be as uniform as program constraints will allow across Newton’s programs that distribute funding or regulate affordable housing, including but not limited to: Community Development Block Grant Program, HOME Investments Partnership Program, Community Preservation Act Program, Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, and Chapter 40B. For more information about the Guidelines contact Robert Muollo, Jr., Housing Development Planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 796-1146.
WestMetro HOME Consortium Affirmative Marketing Plan
The City of Newton has adopted an Affirmative Marketing Plan. The procedures and requirements are in place for the City’s HUD-funded rental and homebuyer projects. Each procedure is designed to attract eligible persons in the housing market area to available housing programs without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, or disability. The Affirmative Marketing Plan is updated periodically.