Community

County wants input on fair housing options

SMOKEY POINT — The Stillaguamish Senior Center will serve as the site for one of three forums conducted by the Snohomish County Human Services Department to obtain community input on fair housing.

The forums will include information on fair housing laws and the preliminary results of a fair housing study currently being completed for Snohomish County. The forums will also provide an opportunity for individuals, social-service providers, housing providers, landlords, property managers, lenders, and other interested persons and organizations to participate in a discussion about fair housing choice in the community.

The Smokey Point forum will run from 3-4:30 p.m. on May 2 at the Stillaguamish Senior Center, located at 18308 Smokey Point Blvd. in Arlington.

Snohomish County is conducting a fair housing study because it receives more than $5 million annually in federal grants from the Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership and Emergency Solutions Grant programs. These funds are used to support affordable housing and community development projects for low-income people, families and neighborhoods.

Through the series of community meetings and focus groups scheduled for May, and from research and analysis of housing issues and a survey conducted earlier in the year, the county's Human Services Department is looking to identify housing barriers and ways to improve access.

Federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination in the rental, sale or financing of housing based on race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, disability, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation and veteran or military status. Illegal discrimination can take forms such as:

• Advertising housing only to preferred groups of people.

• Denying housing to people because they have children.

• Refusals by landlords or HOAs to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.

The forum facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information, to request a reasonable accommodation to enable you to fully participate in the forum such as a sign-language interpreter, or to request a language interpreter for the forum, please contact Sue Tracy at sue.tracy@snoco.org or 425-388-3269 or at 7-1-1 for TTY users.

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