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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

HUD Conference Makes Fair Housing a Priority

Feature Story by Ritu Kelotra - 9/4/2003

Fair housing advocates from around the country came together last week to educate one another about the status of fair housing in the United States.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the 2003 Fair Housing Assistance Program/Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP/FHAP) Western Regional Conference held in San Diego, California, was filled with five days of panels, workshops, and briefings.

Karen McGill Lawson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, was a panelist for the “Community Connectivity & Media” workshop, which discussed effective ways to conduct fair housing outreach in underserved populations.

Lawson described a new HUD-funded public service announcement campaign, which aims to educate Americans about housing discrimination. The campaign was also part of the launch for fairhousinglaw.org, a site designed to inform renters and homebuyers about fair housing laws. The Web site and PSA campaign are the culmination of LCCREF's partnerships with the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Ad Council, and New York advertising firm Merkley Newman Harty.

Among the other panels at this year’s conference was a legal update highlighting federal and state fair housing case law development, as well as a study that presented updated information about discrimination in metropolitan housing markets.

Workshops included in this year’s conference educated attendees about “predatory” mortgage lending practices and strategies used to effectively handle heavy caseloads and damage documentation.

“The Urban Apartheid” general session focused on housing disparities for minorities and the obstacles they faced when trying to make the move from renting to owning. Individual workshops addressed migrant and farm workers, Native Americans and residents of rural communities.

FHIP/FHAP regional workshops take place every other year, with annual FHIP/FHAP workshops occurring during the off years.