The Lafayette Consolidated Government Community Development Department (CD) and Development and Planning Department (DP) collaborated to produce this Fair Housing Assessment. The initial step in the process was to release a survey to the public to determine residents’ knowledge of fair housing laws and their experiences with fair housing issues. The survey was deemed successful, garnering 285 responses that gave valuable insight into the public’s opinions and views of housing in Lafayette. Results of the survey can be found below. During the analysis portion of the assessment, CD reviewed the HUD-provided maps and commented on trends appearing in each map, as described throughout the assessment. DP analyzed their own data and drew upon local knowledge of their own programs and experiences. CD drew upon local knowledge by interviewing representatives of the LCG Neighborhoods Counseling Services, who implement fair housing enforcement and public education in Lafayette, and by interviewing the Mayor-President’s Awareness Committee for Citizens with Disabilities. Because HUD’s data on disability access is currently limited, insight from this committee was useful in documenting the needs of disabled residents.
Upon identifying trends and problems with housing, CD and DP collaborated to identify various contributing factors to these problems, identifying the most important factors to be: (a) Private Discrimination and Community Opposition, (b) Financial Literacy of Low-Income residents, which can hamper their ability to gain approval for mortgages and other loans, (c) Deteriorated and Abandoned Properties, (d) Lack of Private Investment in Certain Neighborhoods, (e) Lack of Community Revitalization Strategies, (f) Inaccessible Public or Private Infrastructure, and (g) Inaccessible Government Buildings or Services. In order to address these factors; CD, DP, and the Awareness Committee identified goals that would be both effective and realistically approachable toward which to work in the future.
There are a total of nine (9) goals toward which LCG will work. They involve educating homebuyers, renters, realtors, and landlords about fair housing – educating buyers of their rights and reminding sellers of their responsibilities. This involves a continuation and expansion of LCG Neighborhood Counseling Services’ fair housing seminar and financial education classes, which have been successful in the past. The Mayor-President’s office is working to improve diversity awareness and private investment in low-income neighborhoods by collaborating with One Acadiana and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority to create an Equity Council that will work toward diversity training and foster economic development.
LCG-DP will work to eliminate urban blight and foster community revitalization by developing its adjudicated property program, by enhancing its codes enforcement division, and by continuing to assist neighborhood groups in organizing and developing their communities. LCG-DP will also assist these neighborhoods by helping to plan and build localized pocket parks and to develop a neighborhood planning program, which will help to stabilize existing groups and add new neighborhood groups.
LCG’s ADA compliance officer will work with the Mayor-President’s Awareness Committee to develop programs and schedules to upgrade Lafayette’s sidewalk infrastructure by repairing old sidewalks and ensuring they are ADA-compliant. Government buildings and schools will also be audited for ADA compliance, and the compliance officer will work with these institutions to assist them by creating programs and schedules in order to work toward meeting compliance in the near future.
The Fair Housing Act protects individuals from discrimination when renting, buying or securing financing for any housing. The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children.
The following links provide the preliminary text of the 2018 Fair Housing Assessment, as well as more information on the Fair Housing Survey and the data provided by HUD to be used in the Fair Housing Assessment.
Preliminary 2018 Fair Housing Assessment
Survey Results and Descriptions
HUD Fair Housing Data