Fair Housing and AHA
At the bottom of each page you will see that we say, “With respect to its programs, services, activities, and employment practices, the Aurora Housing Authority abides by the non-discrimination requirements of federal, state, and local law, and administers its programs in accordance with the rules and regulations governing Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in providing housing assistance.”
We not only abide by the requirements, we are passionate about promoting Fair Housing within our programs and providing Equal Opportunity for all of our applicants, residents, and clientele.
Fair housing is the right to have housing free from unlawful discrimination. Federal, state and local fair housing laws protect people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities, such as renting apartments.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
- Race (White, Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc., also perceived race and being biracial)
- Color (discrimination based on the lightness or darkness of an individual’s skin)
- National Origin (not only where you are from, but where your family is from, and your language or customs)
- Sex (including sexual harassment)
- Familial Status (relating to the presence of at least one child under 18 years of age, including residents who are pregnant or adopting)
- Disability (mental or physical impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities)
Those are the federally protected classes. In addition to these protected classes, the state of Colorado includes ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation (including gender identity) and creed/belief system. There are also protections based on your source of income and your legal immigration status.
What does Fair Housing not protect against?
Fair Housing laws do not protect against being denied based on:
- having a felony record
- current illegal drug use
- credit score or past bankruptcy
- having a past eviction
- having damaged a prior unit or having had poor housekeeping habits
- age restrictions at Senior properties (HOPA)
This is not to say that any of these items will automatically make you ineligible for housing! In fact, as of 2019, Colorado law made exceptions for conviction records that occurred more than five years before the date of the application (except for many methamphetamine offenses, sex offenses, homicide, stalking, and some other crimes).
What does Housing Discrimination look like?
Housing discrimination can take many forms. Some of the ways you might be being discriminated against include, but are not limited to:
- You’re asked, “Are you sure you can afford the rent?”
- You’re reminded several times about background, criminal, or legal status checks.
- You’re told that you might “be more comfortable” living somewhere else.
- People who have children under 18 are encouraged to live next to a playground, or on a particular floor or building.
- You’re told there’s a no pets policy, “even if you have a service animal.”
- “This is a nice, quiet community,” being mentioned once you say you have children.
- You are hung up on in getting information because they “can’t understand your accent.”
- Rules that require persons under 18 to be accompanied by an adult at all times
This looks too familiar! Where can I register a complaint?
A complaint of discrimination must be timely filed, as required by Colorado law.
Colorado Civil Rights Division: The Complaint Process
United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Housing Discrimination Complaints or
by language: English * Spanish * Arabic * Chinese * Korean * Russian * Vietnamese
Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) Resident Assistance and Resources
Are you a resident with the Aurora Housing Authority?
Are you a person with a voucher or subsidy administered by the Aurora Housing Authority?
Both applicants and participants have the right to disagree with, and appeal, certain decisions of the PHA that may adversely affect them. A request for an informal review must be made in writing and delivered to AHA either in person or by first-class mail, by the close of the business day, no later than 10 business days from the date of AHA’s denial of assistance. AHA must schedule and send written notice of the informal review within 10 business days of the family’s request. AHA offers participants the opportunity for an informal hearing as required by regulations. A request for an informal hearing must be made in writing and delivered to AHA either in person or by first-class mail, by the close of the business day, no later than 10 business days from the date of AHA’s decision or notice to terminate assistance. AHA must schedule and send written notice of the informal hearing to the family within 10 business days of the family’s request. The family may request to reschedule a hearing for good cause, or if it is needed as a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities. Good cause is defined as an unavoidable conflict which seriously affects the health, safety or welfare of the family. Requests to reschedule a hearing must be made orally or in writing prior to the hearing date. At its discretion, AHA may request documentation of the “good cause” prior to rescheduling the hearing. If the family does not appear at the scheduled time, and was unable to reschedule the hearing in advance due to the nature of the conflict, the family must contact AHA within 24 hours of the scheduled hearing date, excluding weekends and holidays. AHA will reschedule the hearing only if the family can show good cause for the failure to appear, or if it is needed as a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities. Additional information can be found in our Administrative Plan.
What does the Aurora Housing Authority do to prevent Fair Housing discrimination?
AHA works procedures daily to help prevent Fair Housing discrimination in all that it does. Some of the things we do include but again are not limited to:
- We are constantly involved in implementing new policies and procedures to better address historical and systemic inequities.
- Training in disparate impact, implicit and explicit bias, and cross-cultural understanding are made available to all employees.
- Every member of the Property Management Department is given a 2-hour Fair Housing orientation and training upon their first day of hire.
- Property Management and Maintenance staff all receive an annual training updating them on changes and expansions to Fair Housing law, and a refresher on requirements.
- Property Management staff is apprised of new Fair Housing training and update opportunities on at least a quarterly basis.
- Advertising for open leasing and waitlist opportunities follow approved Affordable Fair Housing Marketing Plans and are expanded past those plans to increase outreach and community engagement.
- Waitlists are being moved to lottery versus traditional time/date application taking as it provides more accommodation for elderly and disabled populations who may have delays in completing the application as early as possible. This allows the timing of the application having no bearing on one’s position on the waiting list provided the application is submitted by the specified deadline, and is suitable as the demand for our housing far exceeds availability.
- The Aurora Housing Authority is involved in the City of Aurora’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing plans.
- Reasonable Accommodation and Reasonable Modification requests are handled quickly and interactively via internal procedures that provide fast and effective results.
Where can I find more information?
- City of Aurora Fair Housing Information
- Denver Metro Fair Housing Center
- Colorado Civil Rights Division
- National Fair Housing Alliance
- HUD Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
- Aurora Housing Authority:
The person named below has been designated to coordinate compliance with the nondiscrimination requirements contained in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regulations implementing Section 504 (24 CFR, part 8 dated June 2, 1988). Melinda Townsend – 2280 S. Xanadu Way Aurora, CO 80014 – (720) 949-1966 or TTY – Relay 7-1-1