Fair Housing and Accessibility

What is discrimination?
Discrimination in housing is against the law. The Fair Housing Law states that individuals cannot be denied housing (sale, lease or rental) on the basis of:
  • Race or skin color
  • Religion
  • Ethnic or national origin
  • Gender status - Male or Female
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marriage status
  • Being a family with children under 18 years of age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Citizenship or Alienage Status
  • Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse or Stalking
A person has the right to live in the home of his or her choice and that he or she can afford. The Fair Housing Laws and Fair Lending Laws make it illegal for any persons involved in your housing search to discriminate against you. This includes advertises, appraisers, bankers and home inspectors. They are all required to give equal treatment to all home seekers. The law also prohibits real estate offices, their brokers and agents from discriminating. They must treat all customers equally. Co-ops and condominiums have the same responsibility to the buyers and sellers not to discriminate.

How to File a Discrimination Complaint
The New Rochelle Human Rights Commission is empowered to conduct educational and outreach effort in the City, including those related to fair housing. The commission refers fair housing complaints it receives to the Westchester County Human Rights Commission, which has a much greater degree of power (including power to issue subpoenas and to issue fines). Additionally, the County's Human Rights Commission can provide protection to a greater number of protected classes, by virtue of the County's more comprehensive fair housing law.
If a formal complaint is necessary, a number of steps will take place. Your complaint will be reviewed and investigated. Communications with the source of your complaint will be held in order to address your concerns and to insure a fair and equitable process. A mediation conference may be held in order to avoid any further legal proceedings. However, if the mediation is unsuccessful the matter may be forwarded for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

HUD Housing Complaint Process
You can read the federal Fair Housing Act and learn how to file a Housing Discrimination Complaint from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website "Fair Housing - It's Your Right". Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at 800-669-9777(voice) or 800-927-9275 (TTTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to Fair Housing And Equal Opportunity Website or by downloading HUD's free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. In addition, individuals may contact DOJ at 800-896-7743 or they may email DOJ.

Westchester Residential Opportunities
The City of New Rochelle has a strong and capable partner in Westchester Residential Opportunities (WRO), a non-profit fair housing advocacy organization that provides a range of services, including education and outreach, discrimination testing, training workshops, foreclosure counseling and senior counseling.

Assistance for Persons with Mobility Impairments
WRO Access to Home is state-funded but county-implemented community initiative that provides qualified households with up to $25,000 in grants to make home modifications, including such measures as ramps, widening doorways, lowering kitchen cabinets, and making bathrooms accessible. The grant amount includes architectural costs, if an architect is needed to draw plans.
  • Household income may not exceed 80% AMI, as set for Westchester County by HUD.
  • It is available to both homeowners and renters - any household where there is a resident with mobility impairments. It is not available to landlords.
WRO has been given $150,000 over a 2-year period for Access to Home grants.

WRO collects the documentation to determine under the program, works with an engineer to define the scope of work, and bids the work out to contractors. WRO then supervise the job until the work is completed and files the appropriate documents with the state.

Westchester Disabled on the Move, Inc. (WDOMI) is part of a national network of Independent Living Centers dedicated to independence and equal rights for individuals with disabilities. WDOMI is staffed and governed primarily by people with disabilities and offers programs and services free to consumers with disabilities and their families.
Other Fair Housing Resources
Westchester County Fair Housing Fact Sheets
Fair Housing Events, Education and Outreach
We invite you to attend various fair housing events that are held in New Rochelle and throughout Westchester County. It's our hope that these events will help educate the community on how we all can foster racial and ethnic harmony in our own neighborhoods. For further information about these events, call or send an email as instructed in the event announcement.

Please check this site for upcoming events.