Welcome to Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A’s Fair Housing Blog. Here, you will find information about fair housing rights, reflections by our staff and clients about housing discrimination, links to relevant articles, invitations to events and forums, and more. It is our intention that this blog serves to elucidate some of the ins and outs of fair housing laws for advocates, community members, and policy-makers. We hope to share our work in Brooklyn and provide examples and anecdotes of what housing discrimination looks like in 2016 and the steps we take to combat it.

Throughout Brooklyn, low-income and minority residents are being pushed out of their homes and replaced by affluent New Yorkers who can pay two to ten times what they were paying for rent. This destroys the community fabric of neighborhoods and results from months or years of harassment, illegal construction, coerced buyout agreements, frivolous court proceedings, and intimidation. In working in these neighborhoods for decades and defending tenants who face these pressures, Brooklyn A sought a tool that would punish landlords for the disproportional targeting of blacks and Latinos. This trend, Brooklyn A realized, wasn’t affecting white, non-disabled, non-immigrant residents. We were witnessing the further disenfranchisement of Brooklynites of color.

Fair housing laws can help combat this trend and the outrageous harassment that comes with it. We don’t want to only take landlords to housing court for not repairing the ceiling that fell on one of our client’s children while he was in bed; we want to take this landlord to federal court because he fixed the leak in the apartment of that client’s neighbor—a new, white tenant. We want to call out this failure to repair a tenant’s apartment not just as a moment of incompetence by a bad landlord; this is a piece of a larger, insidious, and discriminatory strategy aimed at pushing out minority residents. At Brooklyn A, we demand that this stop. Over the course of the last two years, we have folded anti-discrimination advocacy into our affirmative litigation to keep tenants in livable and affordable housing.

We look forward to sharing our stories and strategies with you. Check back for bi-monthly updates and reach out with any questions, concerns, or ideas.

Best,
Brooklyn A’s Fair Housing Team

Brooklyn A Attorneys Defend Rent Freeze for Rent Stabilized New Yorkers

Is the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) allowed to consider tenant affordability when setting yearly rent increases for rent stabilized tenants?  This is the question currently pending before the New York County Supreme Court in Rent Stabilization Association, et al. v. Rent Guidelines Board. Following a lengthy argument on Tuesday, the Hon. Debra […]

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Photos Reveal What Williamsburg Tenants are Experiencing

Sara Wolkensdorfer, a staff attorney with Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, recently shared photographs depicting the unacceptable conditions at 273 Lee Ave, which include cracked and missing tiles, water leakage, and large amounts of debris from partially completed “repairs.” Check them out below:   http://patch.com/new-york/williamsburg/photos-williamsburg-tenants-suing-their-discriminatory-landlord-document-their

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South Williamsburg Residents Detail Deplorable Living Conditions

A recent Patch article explores the “deplorable and unlivable conditions” at 273 Lee Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The residents of the building, many of whom have lived there for decades, tried repeatedly to have the necessary repairs made but received either no response or intentionally shoddy work. The experiences detailed in the article are all too […]

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Poverty as a New Protected Class

By: Caroline Iosso, Fair Housing Advocate. Since their inception, fair housing laws have aimed to integrate populations and persons of different ethnicities and races. These laws exist in order to promote equal access to housing opportunity and to ensure that landlords and real estate agents cannot pick and choose who lives where and who gets […]

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Structural Violence: Discrimination in Housing

By: Justina Walker, Legal Advocate Imagine working for ten to twelve hours every day, seven days a week. You’re exhausted. It is in part physical, but extends far beyond that. It is not normal, for those who come from more privileged backgrounds, but it has become your normal. The exhaustion you feel, you resent, and […]

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Procesando su Demanda de Discriminación

El Acto Federal de Vivienda Equitativa (AFVE) se permite a cualquier persona presentar un reclamo de discriminación de vivienda. Si cree que ha experimentado discriminación por su dueño de la casa o un empleado del dueño de la casa (como el administrador del edificio, super, o bróker) y ha sufrido una pérdida de vivienda o […]

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Prosecuting Your Discrimination Complaint

The Fair Housing Act allows for anyone to bring a claim for housing discrimination. If you believe you have been discriminated against by your landlord or landlord’s employees (such as a building manager, “super,” or broker) and have suffered a loss of housing or access to housing related services such as heat, hot water, or […]

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Referral Agencies for Fair Housing Claims

View the full list of referral agencies here (information is provided in English, Spanish, and Chinese): http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/Referral-List-for-Fair-Housing-Claims_Chinese.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/Referral-List-for-Fair-Housing-Claims_Chinese.pdf”]

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Fair Housing Rights Guide

View the full “Guide to Fair Housing Laws and How to Take Action Against Housing Discrimination” here: http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/Know-Your-Fair-Housing-Rights-Guide.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/Know-Your-Fair-Housing-Rights-Guide.pdf”]

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¿Qué son Leyes de Vivienda Justa?

En la ciudad de Nueva York, existen leyes y protecciones en los niveles locales, estales, y federales que se hacen ilegal discriminar en materias de vivienda. http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/Know-Your-Fair-Housing-Rights-Guide-SPANISH.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/Know-Your-Fair-Housing-Rights-Guide-SPANISH.pdf”]

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Housing Discrimination Based on Disability Status

If you are treated differently because of your disability, or if you are denied necessary changes to your home that would make life easier with your disability, you may be a victim of housing discrimination. View the full “Housing Discrimination Based on Disability Status” factsheet here: http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/disability-discrimination-factsheet.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/disability-discrimination-factsheet.pdf”]

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Prosecuting Your Fair Housing Claim

This factsheet offers useful information about filing a complaint and standing up against housing discrimination: http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/Complaint-Procedure-Factsheet-English.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/Complaint-Procedure-Factsheet-English.pdf”]

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Housing Discrimination Log

Use this form to record conversations and incidents that feel discriminatory. The more you keep track of these incidents, the easier it will be to prove your discrimination claim. View the printable Housing Discrimination Log here: http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/Housing-Discrimination-Log-English.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/Housing-Discrimination-Log-English.pdf”]

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When is a Rental Policy Discriminatory?

A landlord violates fair housing laws if a rental policy disproportionately or unfairly impacts you because of a protected characteristic (race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, source of income, gender identity, religion, disability, family status, age, military status, partnership status, alienage/citizenship status, or lawful occupation). View the full “When is a Rental Policy Discriminatory?” […]

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Housing Discrimination Based on Race and National Origin

If you are treated differently because of your race, ancestry, or because you speak a different language, you may be a victim of housing discrimination. View the “Housing Discrimination Based on Race and National Origin” factsheet here: http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/Race-and-National-Origin-Discrimination-English.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/Race-and-National-Origin-Discrimination-English.pdf”]

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Income-Based Housing Discrimination

If you are treated differently because you receive any kind of public or housing assistance, you may be a victim of housing discrimination. View the Housing Discrimination Based on Lawful Source of Income factsheet here: http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/Sources-of-Income-Discrimination-English.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/Sources-of-Income-Discrimination-English.pdf”]

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Know Your Fair Housing Rights!

Know Your Fair Housing Rights! You are protected from housing discrimination by federal, state, and local laws. View our Fair Housing Rights factsheet here: http://bka.org/wp-content/uploads/Know-Your-Fair-Housing-Rights-Factsheet-English.pdf [pdf-embedder url=”/wp-content/uploads/Know-Your-Fair-Housing-Rights-Factsheet-English.pdf”]

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Crackdown on Landlords Who Rebuff Section 8

We were proud to work with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez on this bill that aims to combat source of income discrimination nationally. In NYC, where this discrimination is already illegal, it still happens every day. We need a crackdown! Government funded housing programs are great and all, but just a waste of resources if we continue […]

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The Continuing Effects of Segregation in Neighborhoods

Check out this article about the continuing effects of segregation in neighborhoods: “It’s more comfortable to talk about inequality and poverty outside the context of race. More than half the country thinks past or present discrimination is not a major factor in why black Americans face problems today…But in this country, we forced people into […]

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Brooklyn A to Host “Know Your Rights” Workshop on Disability and Senior Housing

Have you been in search of affordable housing that meets your specific needs? Are you unsure of what you are eligible for? Do you struggle to obtain accommodations to improve your quality of living? Join us on Thursday, April 14th, 2016 from 6:30-7:30PM at El Puente, 211 S 4th St., Brooklyn, NY 11211. This workshop is […]

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BP ADAMS ANNOUNCES “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS” WORKSHOP

                                                  March 18, 2016 FOR TENANTS IN CROWN HEIGHTS AND PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS, NEIGHBORHOODS FACING INCREASING RISK FOR RESIDENTIAL DISPLACEMENT BROOKLYN, NY, March 18, 2016: Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams announced […]

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Anti-Housing Discrimination Workshop

Learn about your rights and speak one-on-one with our bilingual tenant advocates.

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Brooklyn A’s Caroline Iosso Speaks on Housing Discrimination on “La Hora Consular”

Caroline Iosso, Brooklyn A’s Fair Housing Advocate, was interviewed by the Press and Communications office of the Mexican Consulate for their “Hora Consular” radio program to discuss housing discrimination experienced by many low-income tenants and Brooklyn A’s work to combat it.  The program was a full-length interview in Spanish. Caroline spoke about the legal services […]

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Brooklyn A Discusses Broadway Triangle Crisis in NY Daily News Op-Ed

Check out our op-ed in the Daily News!  By Brooklyn A’s Shekar Krishnan and Martin S. Needelman and  Broadway Triangle Community Coalition Chair Juan Ramos.  In light of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision protecting the Fair Housing Act, the piece calls attention to the continued housing discrimination in Brooklyn’s Broadway Triangle — and the way in […]

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