Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB) March-April, 2006 / Vol.12, No. 2

FAIR HOUSING NEWS

A newsletter about fair housing, community development, and neighborhood quality of life



GREETINGS! Welcome to Fair Housing News!, a newsletter produced by the GBCHRB as a public service. Contact us for a free copy of any article or if you would like this e-mailed to you: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org. More info/resources: http://www.gbchrb.org.

APRIL IS NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH!

Did you know that April is National Fair Housing Month? 2006 is the 38th anniversary of the passage of the 1968 U. S. Civil Rights Act. HUD's official slogan this year is "Fair Housing: It's Not an Option, It's the Law." There are various things going on around Maryland to celebrate the month. On Thursday, April 6th, there will be a Fair Housing Symposium on Homeowners Insurance at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center, 2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Presenters include: Constance Chamberlin, Housing Opportunities Made Equal; Leo J. Jordan, former VP & Counsel, State Farm Insurance Company; Irene Mabry Moses, ABR, Fair Realty, LLC; Sara K. Pratt, Fair Housing & Civil Rights Consultant; Lisa C. Rice, Toledo Fair Housing Council; and Shanna L. Smith, National Fair Housing Alliance. Registration & Continental Breakfast: 8:00 a.m., & the Symposium: 8:45-1:00 p.m. For more info: http://www.baltimorehousing.org/index/EventDetail.asp?ID=133. The fee is $20.00 (includes all materials, continental breakfast & late morning snack). Optional Continuing Education Units (.3 CEUs) are available from Howard Community College at an additional cost of $5.00. The Forum is sponsored by Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, & Howard Counties, with funding partially from the U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program.

Also on April 6th is the League of Women Voters' Housing Forum with International Urban-Suburban Policy Expert David Rusk, author of Baltimore Unbound: A Strategy for Urban Renewal (1995), Cities Without Suburbs: A Census 2000 Update (1993), and others. It will be held at Grace United Methodist Church, 5407 N. Charles Street in Baltimore, at 7:00 p.m. For more info, telephone 410-377-8046, email lwvbaltimore@verizon.net, or check out the website: http://www.lwvbaltimore.org.

On April 24th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the HUD Baltimore Office will hold a Fair Housing Conference at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2nd Floor Auditorium (10 N. Greene Street). Major topics are a Title VIII legal update and "Is it your credit or discrimination?" For more info, telephone Von Cummings at 410-962-2520, ext. 3024.



IN NATIONAL NEWS

"Craig's List," Popular Internet Website for Housing & Jobs, Accused of Discrimination. The Chicago Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sued Craig's List, alleging the site ran 100 discriminatory housing ads over the past six months. Also, HUD reported receiving a discrimination complaint against the site, and also holds that the Fair Housing Act applies to the internet as it does to print media. However, the Communications Decency Act's Section 230 provides "broad protection for internet forums that post ads and opinions submitted by their users" it has previously been utilized to fight a discrimination complaint. The Baltimore Craig's list is: http://baltimore.craigslist.org (www.chicagotribune.com, March 26, 2006).

HUD and the Ad Council Launch National Campaign to Fight Evacuee Housing Discrimination. HUD and the Ad Council have launched a national campaign designed to increase recognition of Fair Housing rights and reporting of housing discrimination by making hurricane evacuees aware of housing laws. You can go to the HUD Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity division's site to view the ads: http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/index.cfm.

About New Orleans: Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Council Struggles to Rebuild While Fair Housing Worsens. Hurricane Katrina destroyed much, but it also put back the cause of Fair Housing. Most of the Council's clients don't live in the area anymore, its employees similarly are scattered, the local court system won't have juries for "the foreseeable future." According to the Council's executive director James Perry, "The media really put on the table the issue of how tough it is for a poor, majority African-American city and the role that race plays there... Most black neighborhoods are the ones that took most of the damage. Even the rich black neighborhoods had eight feet of water" (National Fair Housing Advocate, December, 2005).


LOCAL NEWS

Legal and Policy Disputes Continue as ACLU Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Enters Remedy Phase. The public housing tenants' lawyer testified to U. S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis that the case was necessary to make "real progress" in reversing decades of tenant segregation in poor, minority areas. The judge is considering a remedy for the violation of Fair Housing laws previously found, as well as whether HUD violated the residents' constitutional rights - which may lead to a more regional solution. HUD's lawyer testified that HUD has changed to promote Fair Housing (Baltimore Sun, March 28, 2006).

DID YOU KNOW?

Subscribe to the National Fair Housing Advocate. An excellent publication that covers stories across the country, the veteran publication - produced by the Kentucky Fair Housing Council - is now available only by subscription. It includes access to their great online case database. Twelve issues are $150 for online access, & $200 for online and paper copy. For more info: www.fairhousing.com/advocate.

Contact the GBCHRB for FREE Fair Housing Info, Brochures, & Posters in English, Spanish, Korean, and Russian: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org.

The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat TV Show Is on Cable Stations Throughout Maryland! Hosted by Dr. Bill Kladky, the 30-minute interview show runs in Baltimore City, and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Calvert, St. Mary's, Talbot, Prince George's, and Montgomery! Call us at 410-453-9500 for days and times!


CALENDAR

Remember the Baltimore Area Governments Will Hold a "Fair Housing Symposium on Homeowners Insurance" on April 6th from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Don't Forget David Rusk Will Speak at the League of Women Voters' April 6th Housing Committee General Meeting. For more information, contact the League at 410-377-8046, email lwvbaltimore@verizon.net, or check out: http://www.lwvbaltimore.org.

On April 24th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the HUD Baltimore Office will hold a Fair Housing Conference at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2nd Floor Auditorium (10 N. Greene Street). Info: 410-962-2520, ext. 3024.


INTERESTING BOOKS

Brown: The Last Discovery of America, by Richard Rodriguez. Penguin, 2003. $15.00 pbk. Rodriguez - perhaps best known as a PBS Newshour commentator - considers Baldwin, Emerson, Sitwell, Fuentes, and many more. Don't forget this wonderfully-written literary meditation on being Hispanic and homosexual, but especially on race and living in America.

REST IN PEACE

Bill Hale, Civil Rights Enforcer, 70. Hale, the first executive director of the Texas Commission on Human Rights, initiated the first successful enforcement of the Fair Housing law against the Ku Klux Klan in Texas in 1993. He also served as president of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (www.statesman.com, March 19, 2006).

John T. Kramer, Legal Scholar & Civil Rights Activist, 68. Kramer clerked for Thurgood Marshall, later a Supreme Court Justice, at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Kramer served as executive director of the National Council on Hunger & Malnutrition, worked as counsel for Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (D-NY) & Rep. Thomas S. Foley (D-WA), dean of the Tulane University Law School, and was a founder of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. According to one observer, "The seam running through all of his work, though, was a deep commitment to civil rights" (New York Times, March 10, 2006:C14).

The Reverend Stuart C. Turner, Pastor & Civil Rights Activist, 80. Rev. Turner was a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Baltimore, and was in a great number of civil rights sit-ins and rallies. Turner was pastor of Mount Winans First Baptist Church, All People's Baptist Church, a volunteer chaplin with the Baltimore City Police Department, and a missionary (Baltimore Sun, March 13, 2006:5B).