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Message from the President of the Fair Housing Center:

Nov. 12, 2020: As the nation turned its attention to the outcome of an unprecedented election, it was inspiring to witness history in the making: the largest voter turnout in U.S. history, and the first woman and first person of color elected as Vice President. It's an important reminder of the power of every individual voice (and every vote) in a Democracy. We extend our congratulations to the leaders who were elected to local, state, and national offices, while also recognizing that no single election can achieve progress on its own and there is still a lot of work to be done. We are prepared for the long road ahead of us and look forward to working with our partners and elected officials to expand access to housing opportunities.


While this year has not been without its challenges, it’s been uplifting to see our entire community come together to support one another’s needs. For those of us working in the civil rights and fair housing movement, we understand that difficult times also present an opportunity to overcome, to rise above, and to do better. The events of this year shined a national spotlight on the fact that our communities will never be safe, stable, or equitable without access to housing. 

The COVID-19 pandemic not only created a public health crisis, it threatened the housing stability of thousands of Americans and exposed longstanding inequities in neighborhoods of color. While the pandemic has touched the lives of nearly everyone, people living in Black, Latinx, and low-income neighborhoods face greater health risks and lack access to vital resources, leaving them more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. This crisis has served as a devastating reminder that our health and well-being are tied to the place where we live, which means we cannot improve health outcomes without achieving housing equity.

This year we have also witnessed our country’s racial reckoning. Protests, civil unrest, and calls for systemic change have propelled a national movement to address historic injustices. Embedded in the foundation of fair housing is the recognition that neighborhood segregation did not happen by chance or accident; the distinction between neighborhoods that are thriving and those that are distressed can be traced back to redlining maps from the 1930s and 1940s. We stand in solidarity with those demanding social change, believing that if we want to realize a just and equitable future, we must first acknowledge the inequities of the past.

The Fair Housing Center’s mission to combat discriminatory practices began more than 45 years ago, and the events of this year have only reaffirmed our commitment to creating communities that are fair and inclusive for all. Thanks to funding provided by Lucas County, we were able to expand our services to provide landlord-tenant mediation to Lucas County residents and housing professionals. By resolving common issues that arise from the landlord-tenant relationship, this free, confidential program can help to maintain quality housing opportunities and avoid costly court cases. 

Fair housing enforcement remains the core of our work, and over the past year, we conducted nearly 100 complaint investigations and challenged unfair practices, helping to expand access to housing for more than 100,000 people across our community. Our education and outreach activities prevent acts of housing discrimination by raising awareness of fair housing laws, and over the past year we trained more than 2,000 people, realized more than 30,000,000 advertising impressions, and distributed nearly 4,900 educational materials. Much of our work focuses on ensuring people with disabilities have access to housing that meets their needs, and this year we improved housing accessibility for nearly 4,900 people. Collaboration enables us to have a broader impact in key areas of housing policy, and this year we partnered with nearly 100 other organizations.

During these unprecedented times, we must remember that just like generations before us who pulled through what seemed like insurmountable obstacles, we too will get through this. What history also teaches us is that the only way forward is together. Each of us has a role to play in creating a world where equity and opportunity exist, in every nation, in every community, and in all the places we call home.

Peace,

Marie M. Flannery

PRESIDENT & CEO 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2020 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11/17/20 20:30:08 -0800.

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