Real Estate

Home front: High-tech housing discrimination; flower arranging with mom

The latest in the local home and garden scene

In this week's Home front column, Facebook faces a housing-discrimination suit from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a special Mother's Day flower-arranging class.

HIGH-TECH HOUSING DISCRIMINATION ... The Department of Housing and Urban Development is suing Facebook for housing discrimination. It filed charges against the Menlo Park internet giant on March 28 for allegedly violating the Fair Housing Act by "encouraging, enabling and causing housing discrimination" through the company's advertising platform, according to a HUD press release.

According to the charges filed, Facebook enabled advertisers to exclude people whom Facebook classified as parents; non-American-born; non-Christian; interested in accessibility; interested in Hispanic culture; or a wide variety of other interests that closely align with the Fair Housing Act's protected classes. HUD is also charging that Facebook enabled advertisers to exclude people based on sex, race and religion. "Using a computer to limit a person's housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone's face," HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in the press release.

The charges stem from a complaint filed by the Department of Justice and HUD with U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last August on behalf of a number of private litigants challenging Facebook's advertising platform.

HUD's charge is set to be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge, unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court, according to the press release.

Anyone who believes they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at 800-669-9777.

FLOWER ARRANGING WITH MOM ... Gamble Garden is hosting a special Mother's Day spring floral-arranging class for those interested in learning how to make a nest centerpiece that can be used as a table decoration. During the three-hour hands-on class, participants will make their own centerpieces with assistance from floral arranger Katherine Glazier, who will demonstrate how to artfully weave branches, greens and mosses to create a botanical nest that can be filled with springtime blooms. The class will be held at Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto, on Saturday, May 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information, go to gamblegarden.org.

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