CITY ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES NEW FAIR HOUSING WORKSHOP ON DISABILITY ISSUES

 


November 26, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:   Gary Rhoades, Deputy City Attorney, (310) 458-4928

The City Attorney's office has announced a new workshop in its unique fair housing series jointly sponsored with the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA).  The workshop, Disability Issues in Rental Housing, will be held on December 6 at the Santa Monica Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd. 

The workshop is the second in the series.  In April of this year, the City Attorney’s office announced a comprehensive campaign to improve community awareness of the fair housing laws and to eliminate housing discrimination in the city.  Along with the campaign’s full-page color fair housing advertisement, eye-catching posters and new enforcement efforts, the City Attorney’s office also teamed up for the first time with AAGLA to provide Santa Monica with a workshop on state and federal fair housing laws that prohibit housing discrimination.    

The free workshop "sold out" as all seats were reserved two weeks before the event.  After hearing co-introductions from City Attorney Marsha Moutrie and AAGLA President John Shulhoff, the workshop's 75 participants—including landlords, property managers, tenants, advocates, social service providers, and attorneys—received a morning’s worth of perspective from a diverse panel of speakers and from one another on dozens of fair housing issues.  One issue quickly emerged as the hottest and most compelling:  reasonable accommodations and modifications for tenants with disabilities.  What is an accommodation?  What is the difference between an accommodation and a modification?  When are they required?  What is reasonable?  And if there are costs, who pays? 

Based on the success of the April workshop and to cover these disability-related topics in more detail, the City Attorney’s office and AAGLA has designed an all-new agenda. The workshop's presenters will explain federal and state fair housing laws, in particular those laws regarding tenants and applicants with disabilities.  Topics will include accessibility, reasonable accommodations, reasonable modifications, community resources for landlords and tenants who are dealing with accommodation needs, and alternatives to litigation such as mediation and the administrative complaint process. The presenters include Beth Rosen Prinz, California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH); Jim Andrews, Westside Center for Independent Living (WCIL); Debby Maddis, Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC); Adam Radinsky, Deputy City Attorney; Gary Rhoades, Deputy City Attorney; and Craig Mordoh, Local Attorney.

"Most reasonable accommodation and modification issues are worked out between landlords and tenants without resorting to lawyers and lawsuits," said Gary Rhoades, a deputy city attorney in the Consumer Protection Unit.  "The goal of the Disability Issues in Rental Housing workshop will be to provide Santa Monicans with more information on these disability topics so that even more disputes can be resolved before resorting to the courts." 

All landlords, property managers, advocates, attorneys, social service providers and interested tenants are invited to attend free of charge.  Please go to www.smconsumer.org to register for the workshop (register early as space is limited) or call 310-458-8345 with any questions.

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