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City of Akron

The City of Akron, Ohio, Department of Planning and Urban Development commissioned an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Contact Service, a nonprofit fair housing organization in Akron, Ohio. This Analysis of Impediments was commissioned according to Akron's obligation as an entitlement grantee of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that it will affirmatively further fair housing.

In 1998, Fair Housing Contact Service, under contract from the City of Akron, Department of Planning and Urban Development, conducted an Analysis of Impediments (AI) to fair housing choice. This Analysis examined the public and private housing sectors in relation to possible housing impediments. The AI was conducted according to the suggested format for the analysis of impediments listed in the Fair Housing Planning Guide (1996).

In the Summer of 2000, a Fair Housing Task Force was assembled to update impediments to fair housing to formulate a plan.

The updated plan was submitted to HUD in April of 2001. The Plan received written approval by HUD in September 2001.

The following Identification of Impediments to Fair Housing and Action Plan matrix is divided into six sections;

  1. Government Policies
  2. Education and Outreach
  3. Lending and Credit
  4. Insurance
  5. Enforcement
  6. Special Needs
 
Identified Impediments Actions to Eliminate Identified Impediments Primary Responsibility Partners Timetable
1. Government Policies
A. Housing density and land use requirements restrict the location of affordable multi-family developments. The City of Akron will maintain its practice of issuing conditional uses for multi-family and group home development where appropriate in order to promote affordable housing. City of Akron Fair Housing Task (FHTF) 3
B. The zoning code has not Received a major revision in 25 years. Zoning Code will be reviewed to determine the guidelines that discourage affordable housing. City of Akron FHTF, Interested Community Organizations 2
C. Developers of new housing in Akron are not providing for accessibility upgrades (e.g. wheelchair ramps, bathroom modifications and wider doors), of housing. New housing design will be encouraged to provide for accessibility upgrades at the inception for possible future use. Home Builders Association, (HBA), City of Akron Building Department, Prospective Developers Disability Advocate Groups Architects 2
D. Families and individuals with limited Financial resources have limited Housing choices. Developers will promote mixed-income housing developments; City will promote economic opportunities in economically distressed areas for low and moderate income persons. City of Akron HBA 3
E. The greatest percentage of funding in City programs to rehabilitate affordable housing does not address the oldest and most deteriorated neighborhoods of the City. Support the development of CDC’s to improve housing in the oldest areas of the City.

Develop more housing activity in the oldest areas of the City.

City of Akron Lenders 1
F. Rental assistance programs and credit repair programs are not able to meet the need for this service that helps secure affordable housing. Organizations provide education awareness to prospective or current tenants/homeowners concerning but not limited to credit repair and assistance programs. AMHA, Family Services, Banks (credit repair) United Way, University of Akron, Kent State University 1
G. There does not seem to be a Mechanism to identify housing need in Akron. Principal agencies will monitor housing need in the City of Akron to identify potential housing shortages. AMHA, City of Akron HBA, University of Akron Homeless providers, CDC’s 1
H. Accessibility requirements in multi-family developments are not being enforced (wheelchair users do not have access to front of building). Accessibility and building requirements will be available upon request at the Building Departments. City of Akron, Summit County, FHCS, Tri-County Independent Living, Ohio Dept. of Development 1
I. The concentration of low-income public Housing for families in the cities of Akron, Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls limits the housing choices for low-income families. The City of Akron will continue to seek 1:1 development of low-income housing in the City vs. outside the City. City of Akron, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) Summit County, NEFCO 3
J. Necessary household retail services are limited in areas of the city where Affordable housing exists. Encourage the private sector to establish groceries, pharmacies, banks, etc. City of Akron FHCS, CDC, Churches, Block Clubs, Banks, Local Boards of Trade 3
K. There is an education gap among the public on various aspects of conditional use policies. The Zoning Division will provide a written statement of policy with regards to conditional use process and have it available upon request. City of Akron Zoning   1
L. Certain sections of the City have Significant amounts of housing and Infrastructure that needs replacement. The City will maintain a coordinated effort to upgrade public improvements and housing investment in the oldest sections of the City. City of Akron   3
  Actions to Eliminate Identified Impediments Primary Responsibility Partners Timetable
2. Education and Outreach
A. Except for Fair Housing month, there is very little information to promote awareness of fair housing and fair lending issues and policies. Utilize media resources to promote Fair Housing and increase awareness of fair lending issues and problems. Fair Housing Contact Services (FHCS), Akron Board of Realtors (ABR), Summit County, AMHA, Akron Summit Public Library Media, Infoline, Banks, Legal Aid Providers, Community Organizations 1
B. Effective service by agencies to the Disabled in securing affordable Housing is hampered by ineffective Communication. Utilize public forums to disseminate fair housing literature (lending, credit information, emergency assistance). Tri-County Independent Living Media 1

C. Presentations on complicated issues relating to lending or credit are difficult to understand by the intended consumer.

Presentation on these subjects will be crafted in simple language, clearly structured and graphically displayed (e.g. audio-visual display). Banks, City of Akron, Summit County Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, CDC’s 1
D. Fair Housing Contact Service lacks the financial resources to advertise its services aggressively and communicate fair housing law to the public. FHCS will utilize television and radio Public Access, Op-Ed pages in newspapers and special reports in local magazines to periodically promote Fair Housing/Fair Lending policies; FHCS should pursue additional funding. FHCS Local Media Outlets, lending organizations 2

 

Identified Impediments Actions to Eliminate Identified Impediments Primary Responsibility Partners Timetable
3. Lending and Credit
A. Influencing lending activity by area lenders is limited because public information on lending activity is not widely known. Continue review of local lending practices using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Data. Public forums discussing reports will be held annually. State of Ohio Office of the Comptroller of Currency, Local Banks Fair Housing Contact Services, City of Akron, Fair Housing Task Force 1
B. The lack of bank branches in Minority or low-income Neighborhoods reduces the Opportunity for low income or Minority persons to know of and take advantage of lending options. Outreach by banks will be continued in poor and minority communities especially to distinguish themselves from predatory lending facilities. Community Reinvestment Officers are encouraged to become more creative in promoting Bank programs. Local Banks Mustard Seed Development Center A Monitoring Group FHTF 1
C. Banks and other financial Institutions do not know the market in poor and minority census tracts. Banks will partner with established neighborhood organizations to promote lending information. Local Banks, Community Development Corporations Community Development Organization AMHA Community Centers Churches 2
D. Residents of poor and minority census tracts do not trust banks and other financial institutions. Community Development Corporations will work to become loan originators in partnership with lending institutions. CDC’s, Local Banks LISC, Foundations 3
E. Regardless of their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) ratings, banks are allowed to operate business as usual without repercussions. Penalty provisions of CRA should be strengthened and enforced. Local organizations will publicize poor records locally and communicate objections to regulatory agencies. Office of Comptroller of the Currency FHCS 2
F. Subprime lenders operate in Neighborhoods without monitoring from any agency. The marketing used, especially in poor and minority communities, have made these communities particularly vulnerable to high interest rates, and poor value of service, i.e. (deceptive practices), i.e. high fees, high loan to value ratio, over appraisals, large number of foreclosures. Suspected Predatory Lenders/practices will be monitored and reported to the Better Business Bureau. Predatory Lending Task Force City Akron Bar Association FHCS Prosecution FHCS 3

 

Identified Impediments Actions to Eliminate Identified Impediments Primary Responsibility Partners Timetable
4. Insurance
A. The lack of data on property or Mortgage insurance redlining Restricts the public’s ability to Influence this activity. Partner with University to conduct research to examine the occurrence of redlining by various insurance companies. University of Akron, Kent State University, City of Akron, Summit County FHCS, FHTF, HUD 2
B. There are few forums held to discuss insurance policies and practices. Citizens in poor and minority census tracts may not be receiving information regarding fair policies. Using seminars and other promotional venues, educate current and potential policyholders on insurance issues and how to deal with insurance companies. This will provide tools to equip policy holders with coverage and reduce cancellation of policies. Local Insurance Agencies/Brokers Housing Network, CDC’s, Block Clubs, Universities 2

 

Identified Impediments Actions to Eliminate Identified Impediments Primary Responsibility Partners Timetable
5. Enforcement
A. Adequate funding is necessary in order to continue monitoring tools to identify discrimination in fair housing choice, (i.e., site testing). Continue to provide site testing to identify discriminatory acts/policies to fair housing choice. The results of the tests will be utilized for community education and awareness. Fair Housing Contact Service City of Akron, University of Akron, SC 1
B. Approved accessibility standards not always enforced during review process. Inspectors will review required accessibility standards at appropriate stages of building process. City of Akron, Summit County FHTF, FHCS, NEFCO, Tri-County 2
C. Housing developments in the City of Akron receiving federal funds do not always exhibit diversity of occupancy Entities receiving federal funds for housing projects will have affirmative marketing plans developed and implemented in collaboration with local fair housing organizations.

Development Corporations will achieve diversity within housing.

Support Public Housing Deconcentration plan developed by AMHA.

City of Akron, Summit County, non-profit development corporations, (CDC) Housing Network, NEFCO, HUD, AMHA, Home Builders 2
D. A broad-based group does not systematically review Fair Housing policies and practices in the community. Maintain the Fair Housing Task Force as a body to assess fair housing impediments in the City of Akron and provide ongoing analysis. FHTF FHCS 1
E. Some owners of rental property are not aware of fair housing regulations and requirements. Distribute fair housing and landlord/tenant information at the time of Rental Registration with the Akron Health Department. City of Akron FHCS, Akron Board of Realtors 1
F. Housing developments are often not Diverse in the City of Akron. Entities developing housing will be encouraged to have Affirmative Market Plans. FHCS CDC’s 3
Identified Impediments Actions to Eliminate Identified Impediments Primary Responsibility Partners Timetable
6. Special Needs
A. Architects, inspectors, and Construction managers do not Always know accessibility guidelines For multi-family development resulting in costly renovations. Periodic dissemination of guidelines or presentations to architect or construction trade groups. FHCS, Tri-County, City of Akron   3
B. There is a significant lack of rent Assisted, accessible housing for Families who have a family member Using a wheelchair. Provide financial assistance for accessibility renovations.

Encourage the development of handicapped accessible or adaptable housing on all projects receiving federal funds.

Promote the development of handicapped accessible or adaptable housing in new private developments.

Tri-County, FHCS, AMHA, City, County FHTF, United Disability Services 2
C. Persons with disabilities may have difficulty receiving needed services in a timely manner. A clearinghouse of providers will be established to ensure persons with disabilities have access to services. Tri-County, MRDD Board City, County, FHTF, UDS. CSS, AMHA, ADM Board 3
D. There is a pattern of inefficient delivery of services which jeopardizes housing persons with disabilities. Monitoring by FHTF and engage in dialogue with those providers. FHTF   3

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