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LWV tackles topic of fair housing at meeting

The League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County tackled the topic of fair housing at a recent virtual meeting.

Mary Croxton, league president, introduced three speakers, addressing a wide range of housing issues.

Jessica Mallon, director of fair housing and policy for the Chicago Housing Authority, focused on the “History of Discrimination in Housing,” noting widespread discrimination towards individuals with disabilities, along with other protected classes. She traced the development of fair housing law from passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 until today.

Josiah Lamp, director of housing and community development with Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. serves as president of the Chautauqua County Homeless Coalition and on the Board of Directors for the NYS Rural Housing Coalition. Lamp provided an overview of homelessness in Chautauqua County, with focus on data, services, needs, and impact of COVID-19 on housing.

Elizabeth Cardona, executive director of the Dunkirk Housing Authority, shared information on public housing in Dunkirk, noting the existence of 234 apartments which are typically near capacity, with a waiting list in effect.

Speakers concurred that a lack of emergency shelter for women and children is a particular need throughout the county, often related to instances of domestic violence. Other gaps include permanent supportive housing; housing connected to re-entry from jail; and workforce services. There is a lack of permanent affordable housing. The expiration of the current COVID-related moratorium on evictions in New York State is set to expire on May 1. This may spike the level of homelessness.

The fair housing video can be viewed on the league’s YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCWlU7Rl14CWbtKOmfLISU-w or the league’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/leagueofwomenvoterschautauqua

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