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Fair Housing begins at home!

Ten things you can do to promote housing access in your community

1
Educate yourself. Housing access is an issue that affects all of us, especially in the tight housing market we have in greaterBoston. Where we live determines so much about the quality of our lives: where we work, where our kids go to school, our daily interactions with neighbors. Federal and state laws protect us all from behaviors that limit housing choice. Find out about your rights and responsibilities.

2
Get trained as a speaker, tester, or trainer in your field. It doesnÕt take much to make a difference in your own corner of the world. Be an example, and a resource, for colleagues in your field. The Center offers trainer trainings for professionals in the fields of real estate, banking, and development. And anyone, no matter what profession, can help enforce fair housing laws as a tester. Contact the Center for the next scheduled professional training series.

3

Organize a tester recruitment event. The FHCGB is always in need of volunteer testers from all backgrounds to help document instances of housing discrimination.

4
Support public and private efforts to create and maintain affordable housing. Contact your legislators. Attend town meeting, planning board meetings, city council meetings and speak up in favor of zoning and development decisions that increase housing opportunities for people of all backgrounds and abilities.

5
Talk with your pastor, rabbi, or imam about what your community of faith can do to promote housing access. From interfaith services and welcome wagon outreach efforts to rehab projects and housing development, religious institutions nationwide are making housing a priority.

6
Get involved with your local fair housing/human rights commission, or start one. Most cities and towns have a fair housing officer or committee on the books, but not all of them are active. Check with your town hall or the MA Association of Human Rights Commissions.

7

Reach out to your local schools:


  • Sponsor storybook readings in kindergarten classes of ÒWhen Chocolate Milk Moved InÓ by Ken Harvey or other books about living in a multicultural community.
  • Organize an art contest for the creation of a fair housing month poster with the winnerÕs highlighted in city hall, on your community website and in other locations
  • Partner with a technology class at the high school to create a short advertisement or spotlight on the issue to be aired on community access television


8
Tap into local media:

  • Submit editorials and/or letters to the editor to your local newspaper
  • Add a link on the town website to the FHCGB website and other resources
  • Sponsor advertisements and programs on public access television


9
Set up trainings for realtors and bankers, home buyers/home seekers, landlords, Housing Authority and other city/town employees to educate them on their fair housing rights and responsibilities.

10 
Sponsor the Race and Place Dialogue series in your town. The series utilizes the documentary Race: the Power of an Illusion to explore why we see race the way we do and how our communities became, and remain, so segregated.

For help starting or activating a fair housing committee or creating any of these events, contact the Center.