Fair housing training for community-based organizations held in Los Angeles

Community agencies in Los Angeles attend Consumer Action's fair housing training
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012

Consumer Action, in partnership with HUD, offered this year's fourth Recognizing & Fighting Housing Discrimination train-the-trainer roundtable. It was held on September 20 at the historic Biltmore hotel, just steps away from Consumer Action's Los Angeles office.

The train-the-trainer event for staff of community-based organizations featured presentations by David Quezada, Director of HUD's Region IX FHEO, Los Angeles Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Center and by Beth Rosen-Prinz, Consultant Specialist to the Fair Housing Clinic of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Mr. Quezada discussed HUD's housing discrimination complaint process and took several questions from participants. Ms. Rosen-Prinz talked about the California DFEH complaint process and about California-specific protections against housing discrimination.

Consumer Action's Linda Williams and Nelson Santiago presented the educational module, Recognizing & Fighting Housing Discrimination. Santiago walked participants through the first half of the module. The segment included an explanation of the groups of people or "protected classes" that are protected by the Fair Housing Act and a discussion of various examples of discrimination in rental and real estate sales situations.

Williams' portion of the training covered the rest of the module including home insurance discrimination examples and devoted additional time to the rights of disabled renters and buyers. Williams also used part of her session to discuss adult learning principles and training tips for participants to keep in mind when educating clients about housing discrimination.

Williams and Santiago also ensured that training participants became comfortable with the interactive activities contained in the module's lesson plan. Williams gave participants an opportunity to review hypothetical case studies as a group. She then asked them to explain whether the actions described in the scenarios were discriminatory or not and to explain their answers. By allowing the groups with correct answers to "score points" that would help them earn a prize, Williams made the session more interactive and engaging. Santiago also provided participants an opportunity to work in competing teams while they filled out a poster-sized blow-up of the crossword puzzle found in the lesson plan.

During the day's final session Chancela Al-Mansour, Executive Director of the Housing Rights Center talked about the work her agency does as a local fair housing agency. Al-Mansour, an experienced fair housing attorney, described cases that her office has handled and answered several questions regarding local fair housing rights.

Consumer Action's Executive Director, Ken McEldowney, noted that although originally only three trainings were scheduled as part of the agency's fair housing project, Consumer Action was able to fit an additional training into its budget.




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