Housing Rights Summit attendees honor National Fair Housing Month

Published: Monday, June 05, 2017

Williams participated in a housing rights summit in June

In honor of the anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, and in remembrance of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Consumer Action’s community outreach and training manager, Linda Williams, participated in a housing rights summit, where she distributed Consumer Action’s financial education empowerment brochures and guides to over 250 attendees.

The housing rights summit Williams attended is an annual event that has been sponsored by the Housing Rights Center of Los Angeles for the last 18 years. Chancela Al-Mansour, a long-time Consumer Action ally, leads the Housing Rights Center.

This year’s summit offered sessions on local rent control, just-cause eviction ordinance and short-term rentals. It also detailed challenges to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing legal requirement that federal agencies and federal grantees further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. The summit also provided information on housing programs for homeless people.

Williams, attending the event for the second year, said. “In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., we should consider his words on housing.”

Quoting the late civil rights activist, Williams recited: “Let us therefore continue our triumphant march to the realization of the American dream. Let us march on segregated housing until every ghetto or social and economic depression dissolves, and Negroes and whites live side by side in decent, safe and sanitary housing.”

The Chicago Freedom Movement (also known as the Chicago Open Housing Movement), which lasted from 1965 to 1967, is said to be one of Dr. King’s greatest civil rights campaigns. The massive demonstration that he led nearly five decades ago is often credited as the inspiration for the Fair Housing Act. Signed into law on April 11, 1968, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act) prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status.

Some 49 years later, advocates are still advancing the principles of fair housing opportunities for all by learning what housing discrimination looks like in the communities they serve, by familiarizing themselves with the Affirmative Fair Housing planning process, and by working to help their community stakeholders analyze and address barriers in their communities.

Work on housing issues remains a priority for Consumer Action. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) annual report on fair housing, the agency investigated 8,342 complaints in 2016 alone. The majority of complaints (4,908) filed under the Act were on the basis of disability. Race was the next most common cause of complaint (2,154). National origin was third, with 917 complaints.

 

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