Recognizing housing discrimination training in Oakland

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Consumer Action co-hosted a Recognizing and Fighting Housing Discrimination Roundtable in Oakland for CBO staff, advocates and community leaders.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2012

In February, the Consumer Action Outreach team trained 35 CBO staff, advocates and community leaders in Oakland on its new Fair Housing module. The Fair Housing module includes: brochures, lesson plan with class activities and PowerPoint slides. Consumer Action developed the Fair Housing module in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The half day training included information on housing discrimination, laws and agencies that protect consumers against housing discrimination and how consumers can file a complaint with HUD and other agencies.

Consumer Action is a Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) partner with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help people file housing discrimination complaints with government agencies.

At the Oakland training, Consumer Action’s Executive Director Ken McEldowney and HUD’s Region IX Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) Regional Director Chuck Hauptman welcomed participants and explained the educational partnership between Consumer Action and HUD.

Paul Smith, Intake Branch Chief of HUD-FHEO Region IX, provided information on the federal housing discrimination protections, the complaint process, substantial equivalency and recent HUD settlements. Substantial equivalence certification takes place when a State or local agency applies for certification and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines that the agency enforces a law that provides substantive rights, procedures, remedies and judicial review provisions that are substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act. Typically, after a certification determination, HUD will refer complaints of housing discrimination that it receives to the state or local agency for investigation1.

Selena Wong, Housing Regional Administrator, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), spoke about state housing discrimination protections, the state complaint process and some recent DFEH settlements, among other topics.

After lunch, Consumer Action outreach team members Nelson Santiago and Linda Williams trained the groups on how to use the Fair Housing module. The Fair Housing module contains information about the kinds of actions that are discriminatory under the federal Fair Housing Act, how to file a housing discrimination complaint and the complaint resolution process. (To view the complete module, click here.)

Maeve Elise Brown, Executive Director of Housing Economic Rights Advocates, and Jessica Sparks, Staff Attorney for Fair Housing of Marin, talked about the role of fair housing agencies in terms of counseling clients; investigating allegations of discrimination; referring cases to enforcement agencies or private attorneys; training services provided to landlords, community groups and other fair housing practitioners, and conducting educational audits.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Consumer Action are co-hosting more trainings for CBO staff in Atlanta in March and in Chicago in April. For more details about those trainings, please contact the Consumer Action outreach team at: [email protected].





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