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Consumer Action and HUD jumpstart Fair Housing Month
Consumer Action and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were in Atlanta to introduce their new jointly-developed training module, Recognizing and Fighting Housing Discrimination.
April marks the 44th anniversary of the landmark Fair Housing Act, the federal law enacted in 1968 that prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, and (as amended more recently) disability and familial status.
To honor the law and in recognition of Fair Housing Month, Consumer Action and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rolled out a new jointly-developed training module, titled Recognizing and Fighting Housing Discrimination, last month in Atlanta, Georgia.
The training module was used to educate advocates from community-based organizations (CBOs), law firms, University Extension programs and government agencies on how to recognize and fight housing discrimination. The module includes two brochures, "Filing a Housing Discrimination Complaint" and "Know the Signs of Housing Discrimination," a lesson plan with class activities and a PowerPoint presentation.
Consumer Action’s Outreach and Training Manager Nelson Santiago and Gloria Miranda, Equal Opportunity Specialist-Bilingual of HUD-FHEO Region IV, opened the training by welcoming participants and explaining the educational partnership between Consumer Action and HUD. Consumer Action is a Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) partner with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a program designed to help people file housing discrimination complaints with government agencies.
Miranda gave a presentation, entitled “Creating Equal Opportunity In Every Community.” She provided an overview of civil rights laws and federal regulations that protect residents of federally subsidized housing. She also offered participants step-by step instructions on how to file a housing discrimination complaint.
Joseph Brooks, Senior Equal Opportunity Specialist, Intake Branch of HUD-FHEO Region IV, also spoke during the event giving participants a comprehensive overview of the complaint process. With emphasis on the investigative side of the process, Brooks took the advocates on a journey from the filing of a complaint to presenting evidence at an Administrative hearing. Brooks concluded his presentation by engaging participants in a game designed to help them focus on how to identify facts, a skill that Brooks noted is required of all good investigators.
Community Outreach & Training Manager Linda Williams focused on teaching participants how to successfully deliver information to the communities they serve through a brief presentation on adult learning principles. Santiago and Williams then trained advocates on using the Fair Housing module to empower their clients to recognize and fight housing discrimination.
At the conclusion of the training, Ashley Boone, Staff Attorney for Metro Fair Housing Services, Inc., gave an overview of Metro’s services for the Atlanta community, such as counseling clients, investigating allegations of discrimination and referring cases to HUD.
Jane Owens, Counseling Program Manager with Home Development Resources (HDR) in Gainesville, Georgia, and a program participant noted “with Fair Housing Month being around the corner, the training and materials are right on time.”
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