2015 Fair Housing Month Events

This past April, HOPE hosted another pair of yearly celebrations for National Fair Housing Month – one in Broward County and one in Miami-Dade County.

2015 Broward County Fair Housing Month Celebration

April is Fair Housing Month, and as part of its fair housing awareness campaign, HOPE, with co-sponsors Broward County Finance & Community Development and Broward County Human Rights, offered a professional development training and luncheon for industry professionals on April 3. The event included relevant fair housing workshops, recognition and awards to fair housing advocates, and gains and strides enforcing the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 in Broward County.

The 2015 theme, “A Movement Toward Change,” signified deliberate local efforts to reach and teach the masses about the history of discrimination in Broward County and identify strategies that move the cause of equal access to housing front and center.

This year’s keynote speaker, Mr. James Perry, enthralled the attendees with his captivating presentation on the subtleness of discrimination. Mr. Perry served for 10 years as the Chief Executive Officer of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. Before working in New Orleans, he founded the Mississippi Gulf Coast Fair Housing Center, the first organization of its type in Mississippi. In addition, we were honored to have South Florida historian Dr. Paul S. George deliver a historical overview on race and segregation in Broward County to the attendees at the morning housing provider workshop.

2015 Miami-Dade County Fair Housing Month Celebration

On April 17th, HOPE hosted the 22nd annual Miami-Dade County National Fair Housing Month celebration. The event took place at Jungle Island and was themed “More People, More Justice,” particularly in light of Miami-Dade County’s recent broadening of local anti-discrimination protections (these were covered in the 60th ed. of HOPE Forum). The day’s events included a workshop covering local housing issues and a luncheon heralding major heroes and accomplishments in fair housing.

The workshop was headlined by Community Organizer Adrian Madriz of Miami Workers Center, a local social justice organization based in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. Mr. Madriz presented on the state of housing in Miami, touching on gentrification, non-local people who buy homes with cash as investment properties, and the viability of community land trusts. HOPE Vice President Danny Howe presented at the workshop, covering HOPE’s community relief efforts and analysis of lending data.

The luncheon was emceed by Erick Johnson, former City Editor for the Miami Times. José Cintrón, the new director of Miami’s HUD office introduced HUD Assistant Secretary Gustavo Velasquez, who delivered the keynote address of the event. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman was honored, as were the plaintiffs featured on the cover of this newsletter. The event was graciously sponsored by Mercantil Commercebank, Totalbank, BankUnited, Citi, and City National.