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
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.
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.
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.
- Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia
Date Published: June 15, 2020
In this 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Court held that the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guards employees from discrimination based on their status as gay or transgender.
- Executive Order 13988 on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity of Sexual Orientation
Date Published: January 20, 2021
This Executive Order signed by President Biden requires all federal agencies to extend existing protections on the basis of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
- FHEO Memo: Implementation of Executive Order 13988 on the Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act
Date Published: February 11, 2021
In light of Executive Order 13988, this memorandum directs actions by HUD FHEO and HUD-funded fair housing partners to enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
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