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13th Annual D.C. Fair Housing Symposium—Hidden in Plain Sight

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EDT)

13th Annual D.C. Fair Housing Symposium—Hidden in...

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The 13th Annual D.C. Fair Housing Symposium seeks to educate general advocacy professionals on issues relating to fair housing and their relevancy to their respective constituencies.  This year's symposium will focus on four critical trends in modern housing discrimination practices: negligence of housing Accessibility features, Source of Income discrimination, Steering, and discriminatory practices in Digital Advertising.   This symposium will be a forum for persons of all professional backgrounds who provide advocacy within private, non-profit or government sectors to gain critical information and increase their toolbox of resources to help individuals and families to recognize housing discrimination.


Take a look around the room you are in right now. Are the doorways large enough to accommodate a person in a wheelchair? Are the light switches situated at a height that all individuals can reach?  Can you reach and use the lavatory safely? These are things that most of us take for granted, but for someone with mobility impairments, accessibility is a vital concept that affects all facets of life, especially in a home.  Individuals with disabilities have equal rights to the full enjoyment of their home or dwelling.  Learn about accessibility regulations, modifications, under the law, courses of redress to take to ensure accessibility, and how to be an effective advocate for housing accessibility.

Source of Income:

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, The SSI program, Medicare Assistance, Alimony, Elderly Trust funds, and other government and private subsidies are ways in which individuals and families maintain housing.   These forms of payments for housing assist very low income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Without this form of financial assistance or payments, many families and individuals would be forced to pay more than half their income toward rent, be forced to live in unsafe or overcrowded housing,  seek out shelters, or live on the streets. Learn how the federal and local fair housing laws protect individual sand families who may experience housing discrimination due to “Source of Income”.


Steering is the practice of advising potential housing renters or buyers to seek housing options in pre-selected neighborhoods other than the one you are interested in. This practice is motivated by racial, ethnic, color, sex, disability, having children or any of the other protected categories.   Racial or ethnic (national origin) motivation are often thought of as the classic example of steering in the housing market.  However, modern housing steering practices go beyond this. A landlord encouraging an individual with a disability to live on the first floor of a building. A real estate agent recommending housing in a predominately target ethnic neighborhood to a buyer with Limited English Proficiency. A housing agent telling a family with small children that the local schools are less than desirable than in another area. These are all examples of steering. Learn how to detect when steering has occurred, and what actions your constituents can do to advocate for themselves.

Digital Advertising:

Although posting anonymous web ads for housing on sites like Craigslist may seem like a convenient way to find the ideal renter or buyer, it also greatly increases opportunities for fair housing discrimination violations. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits housing advertisements from expressing preferences based on race, ethnicity, religion, or familial status. Some examples include: “Adults only housing”, “No children”, “Working adults only”, “Christians Only”.  So what constitutes discrimination in Digital Advertising? Learn how to identify housing discrimination online and how to advocate for your constituents who face this discrimination. Learn when it is permissible to select based on sex, age, and families with children and when it is not.

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When & Where

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
900 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EDT)

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Event Organizers

The Equal Rights Center (ERC) is a national non-profit civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. With members located in every state the District of Columbia, the ERC works nationally to promote equal opportunity in housing, employment, disability rights, immigrant rights, and access to public accommodations and government services for all protected classes under federal, state, and local laws.

The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live, work, or visit in the District of Columbia. The primary function of the agency is to enforce the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act, the District of Columbia Parental Leave Act and the District of Columbia Language Access Act.

The mission of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is to create and preserve opportunities for affordable housing and economic development and to revitalize underserved communities in the District of Columbia.

The Developmental Disabilities Council of the District of Columbia seeks to strengthen the voice of people with developmental disabilities and their families in DC in support of greater independence, inclusion, empowerment and the pursuit of life as they choose. We strive to create change that eliminates discrimination and removes barriers to full inclusion through our advocacy.


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13th Annual D.C. Fair Housing Symposium—Hidden in Plain Sight
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