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Assistance Animal vs. Companion Animals Webinar

March 4, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am


Trainer: Deb Piltch of Piltch Associates

Please join us for an engaging webinar in which we discuss one of our favorite Fair Housing topics, assistance animals.  During this webinar we will:


  1. Discuss and review HUD’s new guidance relating to reasonable accommodations for assistance animals under the Fair Housing Act, titled “Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation under the Fair Housing Act”,  FHEO-2020-01, which explains obligations of housing providers with respect to animals that individuals with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations, including service and support animals. This guidance replaces HUD’s previously issued guidance on this topic, which was issued in 2013. Topics in the new guidance include:
  • Best practices for complying with the Fair Housing Act when assessing requests for reasonable accommodations to keep assistance animals in housing; and
  • Verification of the need for service animals and support animals including on-line certifications
  1. Existing guidance regarding compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act; and
  2. Review the differences between assistance animal rules and pet rules.


Debbie Piltch is an attorney with considerable expertise in discrimination law and housing law.  She worked for more than five years at the Disability Law Center (DLC) in Boston, Massachusetts, representing low-income individuals in cases involving discrimination in housing, employment, and education. She also designed and conducted training for consumers, and public and private entities on disability discrimination law. While at the DLC, she served on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) taskforce responsible for making recommendations to the Secretary of HUD regarding complicated occupancy issues in public and assisted housing. She wrote the section of the report on reasonable accommodation in relation to persons with drug and alcohol addictions.

She left the DLC in 1994 to establish a consulting business that provides technical assistance and training to government and private entities on their rights and responsibilities in relation to civil rights and housing laws. She has developed a national reputation in the field of housing and discrimination law and has been fortunate to work with a number of the leading government and private organizations involved in housing issues. A significant portion of her work for these organizations has focused on designing, developing and implementing training programs on occupancy issues, tax credit compliance, and fair housing. For example, she wrote two manuals for MassHousing under a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) grant on disability discrimination law in housing. One manual was designed to assist individuals with disabilities understand their rights and responsibilities, and the other manual was directed at public and assisted housing providers. These manuals were part of a highly successful training program designed to bring together consumers, public and assisted housing providers, and service providers to discuss complicated issues relating to individuals with disabilities in housing. This training program was so successful that they received a second FHIP grant to conduct the training program across the country and an award of excellence from HUD.  Ms. Piltch has continued to work with MassHousing as a consultant, developing and implementing numerous training programs for this agency on Fair Housing related topics, including reasonable accommodation, limited English proficiency, Fair Housing, and liability issues for Resident Service Coordinators.  She also worked with Ann Anderson on materials Ms. Anderson developed for MassHousing on hoarding.

Ms. Piltch has also worked extensively with the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA). She co-authored this organization’s training program on occupancy issues, serves as a trainer for its members on this topic and Fair Housing and is a member of NAHMA’s Specialist in Housing Credit Management (SHCM) Technical Advisory Committee and Chairperson of its Education and Training Committee. In addition, she has worked with HUD conducting training for large public housing authorities, and HUD public and fair housing personnel on discrimination in public housing and occupancy issues.

In addition, in her capacity as a consultant, she has analyzed countless organization’s rules, policies and procedures in an effort to insure that they are in compliance with applicable tax credit, civil rights and housing laws. She has also designed compliance protocols for government and private entities, and has served as an independent monitor for the MA state Attorney General’s office in a discrimination case.     Although she continues to maintain her consulting business, she is presently employed as the Director of Compliance for Maloney Properties, Inc., a private housing management company that operates over 8,000 units of affordable housing in MA, Vermont, NH, and RI.  In this capacity she is responsible for overseeing compliance with federal, state and local regulations, including fair housing laws and tax credit rules.   Her responsibilities include developing and implementing rules, policies and procedures, conducting numerous types of training, and on-site monitoring.


March 4, 2020
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Event Category:


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