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Fair housing center approves contract

October 16, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

STEUBENVILLE - Officials with the Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center agreed to a one-year contract with the Jefferson County commissioners on Monday night to provide fair housing services for the county.

The Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center was created in early 2011 by the Steubenville Fair Housing Practices Commission because of anticipated cuts in Community Development Block Grant funds.

"The city's fair housing practices commission will continue to exist for housing discrimination issues in the city. But the Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center will be able to work in different communities," Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi explained at a March 2011 meeting.

The contract approved Monday night calls for the county to pay the Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center $3,000 to act as the county's representative on all matters related to fair housing efforts.

The agreement also calls for the OVFHC to provide intake of fair housing complaints and follow-up service as well as:

Review existing fair housing ordinances for appropriate current language.

Conduct educational seminars and programs informing citizens of their rights and responsibilities.

Develop and distribute fair housing information and materials to residents and civic groups or schools consistent with community housing improvement program fair housing programs.

The OVFHC approved the contract with the commissioners following a brief executive session to review the document.

The OVFHC meeting was held after the board members met initially as the Steubenville Fair Housing Practices Commission.

Petrossi told the board members the city is advertising for proposals for fair housing services.

"Our current three-year contract with the Regional Housing Center expires at the end of October. As we have in the past we are advertising for services and hope to award a new contract in November," said Petrossi.

Petrossi also told the commission members City Council will vote at the Oct. 23 meeting on amendments to the city's fair housing laws.

"A couple members expressed an interest in speaking on those amendments. So you should attend the council meeting that will be held that night at 7:30 p.m. at the Eastern Gateway Community College lecture hall," Petrossi said.

The commission met for nearly an hour in executive discussion to hear fair housing complaints from two individuals.

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