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2005 September - October

Encouraging Moderation in State Policies on Collecting Food Stamp Claims

By David A. Super

Regulations issued by the Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture in July 2000 promote efficient and effective food stamp claims collection by the states. These regulations give states significant flexibility in tailoring their procedures on filing claims. States can incorporate waiver and compromise policies that increase efficiency and can serve low-income households.

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California Perspectives on Tenant-Screening Agencies

By David Pallack

California agencies began using tenant-screening reports to weed out tenants in the 1970s. California advocates responded by enforcing tenant protection legislation through litigation.

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Tenant-Screening Agencies Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

By Anthony Rodriguez

Tenant-screening reports are now clearly considered by the Federal Trade Commission to be credit reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the landlord-tenant context, this means that users of tenant-screening agency reports all have obligations under the Act.

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Remembering Edward V. Sparer

An Enduring Vision for Legal Services

By Gary F. Smith

The twentieth anniversary of the death of Edward V. Sparer, one of the architects of the national legal services movement, is cause for poverty lawyers to take pause and take stock of their work. Sparer helped inspire a generation of lawyers when legal services programs were part of the Office of Economic Opportunity. As one of the early directors of what was then the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law, he helped shape targeted litigation that promotedthe constitutional rights of the poor. Sparer's work remains an important example for legal aid lawyers who are fighting poverty in its twenty-first century form.

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New HUD Guidance Accommodating People with Disabilities in the Section 8 Program

By Fred Nisen

HUD has issued new guidance to assist housing providers in accommodating the needs of persons with disabilities in the Section 8 program. Advocates can now use the guidance to education housing providers.

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Defending Against Eviction from Public and Federally Subsidized Housing

By Fred Fuchs

An overview of eviction describes permissible grounds, notice and service requirements, subsidy termination and fraud allegations, due process, special concerns in evictions for nonpayment or for criminal and drug-related activity, and possible defenses under the law governing public and federally subsidized housing, including the project-based Section 8 programs, Home Investment Partnerships Program, Shelter Plus Care, Supportive Housing, tax-credit apartments, and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

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A Stacked Deck—How Credit Is Used to Screen Out Those Most in Need of Federally Subsidized Housing

By Maeve Elise Brown

Owners and managers of subsidized housing often use accessible and unreliable credit information to decide whether a housing applicant is likely to pay rent; rent and utility payment history are more relevant indicators. Use of credit reports and scores can end up excluding the very low-income people whom subsidized housing programs are designed to help and can mask exclusion motives—violating fair housing laws. HUD should promulgate regulations that limit improper use of credit information in subsidized housing programs.

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Letter from the Editor

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