Take Advantage of These Free Online Seminars and Videos for Fair Housing Month

As we welcome Spring this April we also welcome Fair Housing Month. After such a tumultuous 2020, it’s a particularly important time to focus on this matter and put great efforts into providing equal and fair housing for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the firsthand connection between health and housing when many officials refused to view these as human rights, despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Millions of Americans lived in fear of losing their homes during these unforeseen hardships, and many did. Household Pulse reports that millions of residents still owe large housing payments – approximately 12.1 million adult renters as of mid-March. It’s apparent now more than ever that the country’s social safety net programs offer incompetent security.

Whether you’re a renter, landlord, investor, or simply hoping to educate yourself on the matter, there are a plethora of free seminars, workshops, Q+As, and films focusing on fair housing that you can take advantage of this month.

1. Jim Crow of the North Film and Panel Discussion / Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM EDT

Jim Crow of the North is a compelling Twin Cities PBS documentary that examines the history of redlining in Minneapolis and systematic racism both then and today. The film shows how segregation has and continues, to construct cities.

In honor of Fair Housing Month, High Plains Fair Housing Center (FHC) will be hosting an online watch party and leading a discussion panel. Experts will talk about the film and engage on housing discrimination over the years and what it looks like today. They will also be discussing how others can help to put an end to housing discrimination and different ways to get involved, particularly in North Dakota, where High Plains FHC is based. The center is a non-profit organization working tirelessly to defeat housing discrimination.

For those who can’t make the watch party, you can watch the film here and still catch the discussion at 9:30 PM on April 22nd.

2. Know Your Rights! Fair Housing & Tenant Skills Webinar / Monday, April 26, 2021, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EDT

Springfield Town Library of Vermont is hosting this workshop on fair housing, specifically in the state of Vermont but they will be discussing the fundamentals of tenant rights that apply to renters all over the country.

Wendy Rowe and Corrine Yonce of Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) will be taking the lead in this conversation, who specializes in housing advocacy programs. CVOEO works to bring issues of economic, social, and racial justice to light and help members of the community attain financial autonomy. This webinar will fill you in on the A-Zs of your rights as a tenant. From security deposits to the account of the Fair Housing Act, this workshop will cover it all and welcomes questions. Start your week off with this informative webinar on Monday, the 26th at 11 AM.

3. Fair Housing Friday: Going Forward / Friday, April 30, 2021, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

This is another great webinar from High Plains FHC in North Dakota with a different approach. In this discussion, the team at High Plains FHC will reflect on the past year as a whole and what impactful changes have been made. Specifically, they will take a look at how Bostock v. Clayton County finally labeled LGBTQ+ housing discrimination under sex discrimination. They will be discussing other recent White House developments on the matter as well, such as President Biden’s memorandum on housing discrimination.

This discussion will allow for impressions, criticisms, and most importantly, plotting what we can do moving forward to ensure every individual is receiving fair housing. Chime in on Friday, the 30th at noon.

4. Housing Segregation and Redlining in America: A Short History / 6 ½-minute video

This short video is an excellent refresher on the Fair Housing Act that’s easy to watch and understand. Code Switch, an NPR collective and podcast focusing on race, ethnicity, and culture, put this video together to express an important message – “Housing segregation is in everything.”

Folks cheered to the end of housing discrimination when the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1968, as the act made it illegal to do so. Although, this law certainly hasn’t stopped discrimination. Code Switch co-host Gene Demby uses this platform to point out why we still see so much segregation within housing and neighborhoods today. Demby elaborates on the impact government actions have had on communities.

5. America Divided: A House Divided / 44-minute video

America Divided is a documentary series that explores the inequality crisis by revealing America’s systemic issues. With exceptional production and noteworthy guests, their raw approach will offer powerful and motivational perspectives.

This episode follows Norman Lear, co-producer alongside Common and Shonda Rhimes, as he focuses on housing in NYC. Lear delves into the crisis of the unhoused community in the metropolis. Over the course of the episode, he chats with New Yorkers regarding housing to better understand the situation and examine the city’s affordability crisis. “This is our America. And it isn’t what we promised,” Lear solemnly claims.

6. Seven Days / 9-minute video

This short film was released in 2018 by Nationwide, in partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance, and recounts the seven days between Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the signing of the Fair Housing Act. When President Johnson announced that MLK Jr. was shot, a nationwide upheaval broke out. Johnson clambered to keep the country together and accelerate the fair housing bill, which he managed to do in just seven days.

This 9-minute video does an excellent job narrating that week in 1968 and illustrating the gravity of the Civil Rights Act. President Johnson quotes in the documentary, “Few in the nation believed that fair housing would, in our time, become the unchallenged law of this land. And indeed this bill has had a long and stormy trip.” Johnson remarks on the struggles of passing this bill in 1968, and now, 53 years later, Americans are still fighting for equal rights.

7. The Basics of the Fair Housing Act / 90-minute video

Lastly, for those who are somewhat unfamiliar with the Fair Housing Act, or the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers this in-depth video that was actually created as a training program, so you know all details will be covered. While this is an extensive training video, it was created for both housing providers and anyone interested in educating themselves and learning more about the Fair Housing Act.

The video includes all of the basics of the Fair Housing Act with a comprehensive commentary. When introducing the video, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna Maria Farias, goes on to say, “But more importantly, today’s training will help you gain a clearer understanding of the continued relevance of this landmarked law.” HUD is committed to spreading this information far and wide while continuing to work incessantly to stop discrimination. “Discrimination still exists. Each year, HUD and our many fair housing partners receive thousands of complaints from individuals and families alleging that their rights were violated, so our work isn’t done,” she continues.

Regardless of your living situation, taking advantage of these free resources during Fair Housing Month will benefit you, your community, and anyone you encounter down the road. As Farias says, “Housing discrimination is not only wrong, it’s illegal, and in a country founded on the principles of justice and equality, housing discrimination is unacceptable.”