NFHTA Digest

NFHTA Digest: April 2021

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Join NFHTA in Celebrating National Fair Housing Month

April 2021 marks the 53rd anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. Since 1968, Fair Housing advocates have dedicated their careers to ending housing discrimination and advocating for equal rights. Observing this anniversary during a global pandemic emphasizes the need for addressing housing discrimination for vulnerable populations and those that are unstably housed. This year, NFHTA turns its focus to the issue of gender equity.

In January 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 13988 to ensure that “all persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” NFHTA celebrated Fair Housing Month by hosting a public forum centered on preventing and combating housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

To assist FHIPs and FHAPs, NFHTA created a job aid that includes level-setting information discussed in the LGBTQ+: Fostering Understanding and Strengthening Fair Housing for All National Fair Housing Forum, including the concepts and spectrums of sexual orientation and gender identity, preferred pronouns, and common fair housing violations in the LGBTQ+ community.

Download the Job Aid

Missed the April National Fair Housing Forum?

View the April forum recording, transcript, and other related materials by visiting the National Fair Housing Forums page. You can also check out past forum materials to deepen your knowledge on other emerging fair housing issues.

View April Forum Materials

Explore Past Forums

Meet the Faculty: Jeffrey P. May

Jeffrey P. May, lovingly known and respected by NFHTA training participants as the “bowtie guy,” leverages more than two decades of fair housing experience to lead the content development and delivery of several NFHTA foundational courses including Basics of Fair Housing, Fundamentals of Fair Housing - Intake, and Fundamentals of Fair Housing - Investigation.

What brought you to fair housing work?

I was working with individuals with disabilities who were at risk of homelessness or currently homeless. I noticed that housing providers were asking inappropriate questions about my clients and whether I would be visiting the clients in their properties. They were worried that a Black male would be coming to their property. I contacted Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center to learn about my clients fair housing rights. Once I understood those rights, I understood that they – and many other at-risk individuals – were experiencing varying levels and types of housing discrimination. This early career experience inspired me to join the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center as a testing coordinator.

What is the most satisfying part of being an instructor for NFHTA?

Much of my career has been in fair housing enforcement. When I worked at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), I was responsible for investigating the nation’s largest lending institutions. Now, through NFHTA, I am in a unique position to provide and impart my fair housing enforcement experience and knowledge with the people who are enforcing fair housing laws across the country.

What is one piece of advice you have for a new practitioner working in fair housing?

This is a movement, so move it forward. It’s not for everyone. If you do accept the responsibility to be a part of the movement, you are a part of creating and advancing civil rights in a pragmatic way. We are in a place of building on progress that has been made by others’ sacrifices.

How do you keep up your passion for Civil Rights?

I’m inspired by the fact that advancing civil rights is advancing hope. History has shown us that injustice can be challenged and addressed by civil rights. It’s hard work that creates positive change and, I know I can bring change.

Jeffrey May Bio
Jeffrey P. May

Principal
International Development and Planning LLC

View Jeffrey's Bio

Pro Tips for FHIPs and FHAPs: Self Care

Sexual Harassment. Sex Discrimination. Racial Discrimination. Emotional Support Needs.

These are all important topics that have been or will be explored by the Academy. Your role as FHIP and FHAP staff is incredibly important to advocate for the rights of individuals and ensure compliance with civil rights. You give a voice to the underserved, underrepresented, and those discriminated against in our communities.

Fair housing work is hard. Your jobs have further been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, attacks against the Black, African American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the pending lifting of the eviction moratorium. You have had to adapt to working in new ways, often in physical isolation from your colleagues, clients, and systems you rely upon to conciliate and litigate fair housing cases. All of this simultaneously has worn down your colleagues, peers, and partners.

For our first set of Pro Tips, we challenge everyone to take a moment and look inward for a self-care check-in. We have heard from many of our FHIP and FHAP colleagues who are barring an increased burden of fair housing complaints and it is important to remind each other of the importance of self-care and making time and space for ourselves so we can best take care of others.

Remember that self-care can look different for everyone and this list is only the beginning of suggestions. Whatever self-care approach you take, make sure what you choose promotes your health and well-being. We all need to count on each other in our continued efforts to promote fair housing for all.

Knowing our FHIP and FHAP colleagues bear a big burden of responsibility, below we offer some suggested self-care techniques and resources to practice aspects of self-care:

  • Unplug and get some fresh air.
    Make space to get outside and breath fresh air. Even a 10-minute break away from technology can clear your head and provide you with energy to get through your day.
  • Make space for joy.
    The pandemic has exacerbated our collective sense of grief and loneliness. Find joy in small things - cook your favorite meal, call a friend, watch the sunset, or read a book.
  • Express gratitude.
    We get to work in a field where we help people, usually at a highly emotional and vulnerable time in their lives. Celebrate and cherish the moments where you are able to help someone. Make time in staff meetings to acknowledge the contributions of others and foster a community of appreciation and applied learning. Learn more about ways to express gratitude.
  • Give yourself some grace.
    This may be the hardest strategy to adopt. We can be our own worst critics. Say “no” to things that cause unnecessary stress. Give yourself permission to take a pause or break from a stressful situation. Practice forgiveness. Explore a guided mindfulness meditation. Headspace has a variety of free easily accessible short meditations.
  • Connect with peers.
    Sharing strategies, learning from each other, creating professional bonds can provide a platform for brainstorming solutions or sharing resources. In each NFHTA Instructor Led Course, participants engage with their peers and more importantly walk away with contact information to stay connected well after the course has ended.

In Case You Missed It...

New HUD Guidance: Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

New guidance was recently released regarding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As fair housing practitioners, it is important to become familiar with the new resources below.

Discuss the the impact of the new court decision, Executive Order, and HUD guidance with your colleagues and agency leadership.

Upcoming Events

Instructor Led Courses

Registration is now open for the following courses:

Fundamentals of Fair Housing - Intake

May 24-27, 2021 | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET

Litigating Fair Housing Cases

June 7-10, 2021 | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET

Fundamentals of Fair Housing - FHAP Investigation

June 21-24, 2021 | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET

National Fair Housing Forums

Save the date for the following National Fair Housing Forums!

May National Fair Housing Forum

May 19, 2021 | 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM ET

June National Fair Housing Forum

June 16, 2021 | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM ET

Academy Event Calendar

Are you interested in learning more about what what NFHTA offers? View the full Academy Event Calendar to learn more about NFHTA courses and events designed to help build the knowledge, skills, and capacity of HUD’s FHIP and FHAP organization partners.

View the full Academy Calendar