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        April 2021 - Volume 8, Issue 2      
Happy Fair Housing Month!

Image of Fair Housing RibbonApril is Fair Housing Month – every year, this gives us the opportunity to reflect on how the Fair Housing Act has impacted the design of multifamily residential projects and how it continues to promote equal access to housing for people with disabilities. Join SWA’s Accessibility Team in celebrating throughout the month, while looking at some important updates and how they will impact designers moving forward. Here are just a few ways you can celebrate:
  • Follow us on Twitter for #FHM2021 updates (@_Swinter)
  • Learn something new. Take some time to educate yourself on the FHA and its history by seeking out articles, taking a webinar, or accessing resources provided by HUD:
    1. Fair Housing First: Find frequently asked questions, links to safe harbor documents, and key issues in design and construction court cases, among other valuable resources.
    2. HUD.gov: Access HUD’s Fair Housing Month outreach tools, catch up on the latest news, and learn about your rights and responsibilities under the FHA.
    3. FHEO Opening Ceremony: Watch the Fair Housing Month opening ceremony to hear some information about the history of the FHA and HUD’s outlook moving forward.
    4. Party Walls Blog: Check out SWA’s blog to catch up on FHA related blog posts, including common misconceptions about the Act, common mistakes in dwelling units and common areas, and Tech Notes posts about specific design elements like sliding doors in dwelling units, protruding objects, or luxury amenities.
    5. Equal Rights Center: The ERC has a packed calendar of FHA related events throughout the month of April.


The New HUD-approved FHA Safe Harbors

HUD logoIn the December 8, 2020 edition of the Federal Register, HUD published a final rule adopting additional safe harbors that can be used to demonstrate compliance with the design and construction requirements of the FHA. As stated in the register, effective March 8, 2021, the 2009 edition of the International Code Council Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities A117.1 Standard and the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions of the International Building Code can be used to demonstrate compliance with the design and construction requirements of the FHA. This is a long-awaited update and an important step toward bringing building code and FHA requirements together for designers. We dive into the history of the HUD approved safe harbors, what this means for designers, and which safe harbor you should choose for your project.

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The New FHA Safe Harbors: FAQs

question mark and exclamation point in a speech bubbleNow that HUD has adopted the 2009 edition of the ICC A117.1 Standard and the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions of the IBC as additional safe harbors that can be used to demonstrate compliance with the design and construction requirements of the FHA, what changes? Here are a few of the most common questions that our Accessibility Team has been asked about the use of the new safe harbors since they became effective on March 8, 2021.

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Accessibility FAQs

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