April 2018: Fair Housing Month
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act. Fair housing is more than a tool for eliminating discrimination; it also helps strengthen families, communities, businesses, and our overall economy. Where people live has a direct impact on the quality of their health, education, and access to economic opportunities. Discriminatory housing practices create racial and economic segregation in communities that can lead to disparate outcomes in overall quality of life. Fair housing supports the development of racially and economically diverse communities. Learn more about celebrating this historic anniversary from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website, The Fair Housing Act: 50 Years of Opening Doors.
To learn more about your fair housing rights and responsibilities, attend any of the following events in your area and around Missouri throughout the month.
- The Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association hosts a continuing legal education luncheon on April 18 at the Tower Club located at 901 East St. Louis Street, 22nd Floor, Springfield, Missouri 65806. The luncheon will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. The title of the presentation is The Fair Housing Act – 1968 Aspirations, 2018 Realities. Presenters on this topic include Jeffrey Mittman of the ACLU of Missouri, and Jason Smith of Spencer Fane. Please visit online to register.
- The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), in collaboration with the UMKC LGBTQUA Affairs Council, UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and the LGBTQIA Programs & Services in the Office of Student Involvement, will host civil rights activist and educator DeRay Mckesson. Mr. Mckesson has emerged on the national scene as a leading voice protesting police killings and has used social media strategically to connect individuals with knowledge, tools, and to provide citizens and policymakers with commonsense policies to ensure equity. To learn about Mr. McKesson or to register for this free event, please visit online.
- The City of Columbia presents a Fair Housing & Lending Seminar on Thursday, April 5, and Friday, April 6. The seminar is scheduled from noon to 4:30 p.m. on April 5, and from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on April 6, and will be located at the Columbia City Hall at 701 East Broadway, Columbia, Missouri 65201. The event is sponsored by the City of Columbia’s Human Rights and Disabilities Commissions, Central Bank of Boone County, the Columbia Apartment Association, the Columbia Board of Realtors, the Columbia Housing Authority, and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. Visit online for additional information regarding registration and the event schedule.
- The University of Missouri hosts Dr. Tina Bloom, an Associate Professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing, as she presents Reaching Survivors: Diversity and Inclusion (and Associated Challenges) in Domestic Violence Research. Dr. Bloom will discuss her program of research developing and testing technologically based safety planning interventions for survivors of intimate partner violence. The presentation will be held on Tuesday, April 17, from 11 a.m. to noon. To learn more, please visit the University of Missouri's events website.
- The Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council presents its annual fair housing training conference, Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide. The conference will be held Wednesday, April 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Missouri – St. Louis J.C. Penney Conference Center. Visit online for ticket information.
- The City of St. Louis will host an East St. Louis African American Author Fair on Saturday, April 14, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the East St. Louis City Hall located at 301 Riverpark Drive, East St. Louis, Missouri 62201. The African American Author Fair attracts a wide array of traditional and self-published authors, book and magazine publishers, book clubs, libraries, illustrators, artists, and individual readers local and abroad. This free event promotes a culture of reading and inspires budding authors.
More housing information and resources are available in Missouri and across the United States:
- The Missouri Affordable Housing Locator is a service to help individuals find quality affordable rental housing in the state of Missouri, listing properties that are visited periodically by the Missouri Housing Development Commission for quality purposes.
- Beyond Housing, an organization seeking to provide support and services for low-income families, has a Housing Services Center to assist current and prospective homeowners throughout the St. Louis region in their efforts to acquire and maintain their homes. The Center holds online training sessions on Home Buyer Education in English and Spanish. In addition, those individuals facing foreclosure can work with a foreclosure prevention counselor after completing an intake questionnaire.
- HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research Case Studies Series highlights sustainable housing and community development projects and innovations from across the country. The series features the revitalization of Old North St. Louis, Missouri: Crown Square Historic Rehabilitation.
- The Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness was formed to prevent and end homelessness by establishing strategies to promote public and private coordination and collaboration, developing new strategies to evaluate and reallocate resources, removing barriers to accessing services, evaluating unmet needs and providing supportive services, implementing effective solutions to build economic security, and promoting and supporting activities that prevent homelessness.
- The Missouri Housing Development Commission provides financing to developers of affordable housing, home mortgages to qualified first-time buyers, and advisory, consultative, training, and educational services to non-profit housing organizations.
- The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council funds the Missouri Inclusive Housing Development Corporation, providing information about safe, accessible, quality, affordable housing in Missouri for those with developmental disabilities.
- The Missouri Department of Mental Health Housing Unit provides information on fair housing for individuals with mental health issues.
- The Missouri Statewide Independent Living Council works to gather and disseminate information, conduct training on independent living issues, provide outreach to unserved and underserved populations, and expand and improve independent living services in the state. It also provides information specific to housing across Missouri.
- HUD has state-specific resources available on topics such as rental help, owning a home, and homelessness and also provides contact information for its local and regional offices.
- If you are a homeowner age 62 or older and have paid off your mortgage or paid it down a considerable amount and are currently living in your home, or if you wish to purchase a primary residence, you may be eligible to participate in the Federal Housing Administration's Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, the only reverse mortgage insured by the federal government.
- Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST provides information on Common Violations of the Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Requirements. The organization is supported by HUD and is an initiative designed to promote compliance with the Fair Housing Act’s design and construction requirements.
- For advice on buying a home, renting, default, foreclosure avoidance, credit issues, or reverse mortgages, search online for a housing counseling agency near you, or call HUD's interactive voice system at 800-569-4287.
- Making Home Affordable (MHA) is an important part of the federal government’s comprehensive plan to stabilize the housing market by helping homeowners to avoid foreclosure. MHA programs offer a range of solutions, including mortgage relief for the unemployed, reducing monthly mortgage payments, and refinancing to take advantage of lower interest rates.
- HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are available to provide you with the information and assistance you need to avoid foreclosure. Foreclosure prevention counseling services are provided free of charge by nonprofit housing counseling agencies working in partnership with the federal government. For a list of agencies in Missouri, visit Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling.