Fair Housing - It's Your Right!
Every American has a right to fair housing. The right to live where you choose, to raise a family, to own a home - in dignity and without fear of discrimination - is a fundamental right guaranteed to all.
This right is guaranteed by the Fair Housing Act, a federal law enacted in 1968 to be sure that everyone looking for a place to live is treated equally.
It makes it illegal to refuse to rent or sell or make a mortgage loan to a person based on their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. Familial status means you cannot discriminate against families in which one or more children under age 18 live with a parent or legal guardian or against pregnant women.
The Fair Housing Act is overseen by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City of San Marcos and HUD want you to know how you are protected and what to do if you believe you have been discriminated against.
Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice Update
The Analysis of Impediments (AI) to Fair Housing Choice Update (PDF) was revised to reflect changes to the community and impacts from the Floods of 2015 and subsequent awarding of $25,080,000 in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funds.
In 2013, as part of the Five Year Consolidated Plan process, the City of San Marcos developed an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice ("AI"). In normal circumstances, there would not be another AI completed for five yours when the next five-year consolidated plan was due. However, 2015 turned out to not be a normal year.
The City of San Marcos was inundated with historic flash and river flooding on two separate occasions within six months of each other in 2015. The first event, now called the "Memorial Day Floods", occurred overnight on May 23rd and early May 24th. May 2015 has been documented by the National Weather Service as the wettest month in Texas History, with well above-normal rainfall during the first two to three weeks of the month. A persistent area of low pressure over the western United States brought multiple rain events throughout the month of May that saturated soil throughout south-central Texas. By the time Memorial Day weekend arrived, much of the region was at least 2 to 4 inches (100 to 300%) above normal. These wet antecedent conditions meant that any new rain, and especially heavy rain, would become rapid run-off directly into rivers, streams, and flash flood-prone areas.
This "worst-case" scenario came to pass Memorial Day weekend. A thunderstorm cluster organized west of Hays County on Saturday afternoon and produced upwards of 12 inches of rain in less than 6 hours. The majority of this rain fell in the upper reaches of the Blanco River watershed at rates that exceeded 4 inches per hour as thunderstorms merged and regenerated for hours over southern Blanco and eastern Kendall Counties. San Marcos was severely impacted, including flooding that damaged housing and other property.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated $25,080,000 in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds directly to the City to assist with ongoing recovery needs from the flooding. Several things had to occur in order for the City to expend the funds. The grant required the city to submit an action plan that addressed how the CDBG-DR funds would benefit the community. That plan was approved on November 9, 2016. In addition, the City had to update their 2013 AI to reflect changes to the community and impacts from the storms. These documented changes to the community will determine funding decisions and impact planning and policy strategies.
This Update will not stop or delay the ongoing responses to the Impediments identified in the 2013 AI. The City responded directly to the impediments to fair housing choice by adopting an action plan that addressed many of the remedial actions suggested. San Marcos has a visible and active fair housing program. During the review process, many of the prior impediments, such as high levels of poverty and high rents, were confirmed again and reviewed for current impacts.
This update provides more focus on the new HUD rule related to affirmatively furthering fair housing ("AFFH"). To that end, this update will look at concentration of poverty and how that impacts schools and fair housing choice.
Public notice of the Update to the AI was accomplished through a variety of methods:
- A press release (see attached) was sent out by the Communications Department to all city employees and to the media on April 26, 2017.
- A legal notice (see attached) in English and Spanish was published in the San Marcos Daily Record April 27, 2017 and May 7, 2017 announcing the following: the May 10, 2017 public meeting to present the Update to the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) to the public; the City Council Public Hearing for the Update to the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice date of June 6, 2017, and the 30-day comment period, June 6, 2017 through July 7, 2017.
- The legal notice and the draft AI were posted to the City of San Marcos website, April 28, 2017.
A public hearing was held May 10, 2017 at the Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins Street, San Marcos from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. See the attached PowerPoint presentation.
The consultant interviewed sixteen (16) people representing all areas of the community. The top comments are located in Section 3 Community Engagement and included:
- The City of San Marcos does not have racial or ethnic tensions.
- Affordable housing is needed.
- There seems to be a division on income and geography.
- There is a concern that student demand for housing is raising the cost of rental units and taking housing out of the market as speculation is driving up home costs.
- There is a need for additional housing and rental assistance.
- Transportation is generally good if your destination is on a standard route, otherwise it is difficult to get across town.
- City is trying to add jobs.
- There is a need for more jobs and higher wages ($15 per hour).
- Foreclosure is not prevalent.
- Predatory Lending is a large problem.
- There is no redlining and Banking is not discriminatory.
- There is a need to more public Fair Housing knowledge.
- There is a need for more Special Needs accessible housing.
City Council Approval
The City Council approved the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice Update during the City Council meeting June 6, 2017. See the attached Resolution.
2013 Analysis of Impediments (AI) to Fair Housing Choice
This report provides an analysis to determine whether barriers exist that hold people back from obtaining the housing of their choice. The AI contains a community profile, a review of fair housing complaints, the results of community focus group discussions, an analysis of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, and a description of impediments that were identified, along with examples of remedial activities.
Once the impediments were identified, the City adopted an action plan that describes how San Marcos will address the issues.
- 2013 Analysis to Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (PDF)
- Analysis of Impediments Action Plan (PDF)
- Brief Slideshow About the 2013 Analysis to Impediments (PDF)
How to File a Complaint
Complaints about housing discrimination must be filed within one year of the event in which you believe housing discrimination occurred.
You can file a complaint electronically or find more information about Fair Housing on the HUD Website (look for the Fair Housing link on the left) or by calling the Fair Housing Hotline at 800-669-9777 (TDD 800-669-9777). The phone number for the San Antonio Fair Housing Office is 210-475-6885.
Write a Letter
You can write a letter to HUD that includes the following information:
- Your name and address
- The name and address of the person your complaint is about
- The address of the house or apartment you were trying to rent or buy
- The date the incident occurred
- A short description of what happened.
Your letter should be mailed to:
Fort Worth Regional Office of FHEO
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
801 Cherry Street, Unit Number 45
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
For more information or to obtain assistance locally contact Dalinda Newby in the City's Development Services Department at 512-393-8224.