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NFHTA Digest: August 2021

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Get Connected and Join the Conversation

As discussed in the two most recent NFHTA Fair Housing Forums, aggrieved parties face the threat of discriminatory evictions and foreclosures, especially those of color. To help our customers, it is vital that FHIP and FHAP staff members are aware of resources available to assist in knowledge and skill building to better serve aggrieved parties and complainants. Using social media is a great way to start conversations of challenges and solutions in our field.

Recently, NFHTA relaunched its LinkedIn page. Through the power of the LinkedIn platform, we are building an engaged community of fair housing professionals. The NFHTA LinkedIn page highlights upcoming NFHTA activities and products, including courses, forums, job aids, and resources to help you in your work. As a business-to-business platform, users can find content related to their fair housing work by sharing posts from staff or stakeholder agencies.

By forging connections among fair housing practitioners via LinkedIn, we can celebrate wins in our community, check out new HUD guidance, receive technical assistance, and discuss best practices that will allow us and our organizations to learn, grow, and improve.

Follow NFHTA on LinkedIn

Explore the New NFHTA Webpage

NFHTA recently launched its redesigned webpage and resource library! Easily navigate the user-friendly and intuitive design while exploring new pages including:

Explore the NFHTA Webpage

Meet the Faculty: Maria Gonzalez

Ms. Gonzalez has over 17 years of civil service experience, and over 8 years dedicated to protecting the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, hate violence and human trafficking. Under her direction, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) housing division investigates nearly 1,000 housing cases per year throughout the state of California. Ms. Gonzalez leverages her experience for the content development and delivery of NFHTA’s Fundamentals of Fair Housing – Intake course. Let’s learn more about Ms. Gonzalez:

What brought you to fair housing work?

Growing up in a large family, I witnessed my immigrant parents being treated differently due to the size of our family, race, and national origin. We endured discrimination without knowing we had rights and accepted being denied housing due to our familial status and race as part of life. As I got older, I realized my family and I had not had a fair chance to access housing due to our demographic make-up. When I began my career with DFEH, I quickly realized this was my purpose.

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

Sharing fair housing knowledge, experience, and networking with others throughout the country who champion the fight for equality in housing. As an instructor, not only do I share my knowledge but, I also gain some from those in the course as I hear their experiences, concerns, and processes. It is an amazing feeling to be in a room full of people who have come together for the same common goal--fair housing.

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

What you do matters. We are the power that ensures those who may not have the voice, ability, or strength to speak out against discrimination are heard. Be fair, open minded, and unbiased with the intent to do what is right, protecting everyday people from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

What is the most emergent issue that you see within fair housing now?

I have seen appraisals come back disproportionally lower for those in certain minority groups. We are all concerned by reports that property appraisal amounts have been linked to the race of the homeowner, with owners of color receiving lower appraisals than others in similar properties.

As a leader and voice in the FHAP community, what advice do you have to strengthen partnerships with FHIPs?

Greater communication and teamwork. This begins by acknowledging our shared goals: fair housing compliance and enforcement. Communities achieving the greatest success in fair housing are communities where the FHIP and FHAP offices work together. We are on the same team. While the FHIPs and FHAPs have different roles, we have similar missions, and it has been my experience that the more we communicate with one another, the better our ability to reach our shared goals. Meeting routinely to address concerns, both ways, really bridges gaps, clears up misunderstandings, and strengthens the relationships.

Maria Gonzalez Bio
Maria Gonzalez

Assistant Deputy Director
California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

View Maria's Bio

Pro Tips for FHIPs and FHAPs: Creating Strong FHIP and FHAP Partnerships

The goal of NFHTA is to forge partnerships and build skills to end housing discrimination in our country. Relationship building is critical to advance fair housing in our communities. For this month’s Pro Tips, we examine some best practices to create and grow partnerships between the FHIP and FHAP agencies, so we all can end housing discrimination...together!

For this month's Pro Tips, here are some relationship building best practices:

  • Create Connections:
    First, know who are the FHIPs and FHAPs that serve your jurisdiction. In some cases, there may be multiple fair housing agencies in your community. Use the following websites to identify your FHIP and FHAP partners: FHIP Organizations and FHAP Agencies. Second, establish communication through a virtual meet-and-greet. Introduce your team members and discuss each person’s role within the organization. Consider scheduling a monthly or quarterly check-in meeting to network, discuss your organization’s missions, and any emergent issues or trends in your community.
  • Leverage Resources:
    Partnerships will allow for collaboration to assist aggrieved parties gain access to local legal aid and housing counseling resources. By forging partnerships, you and your agency can share vital information, such as local fair housing trends and identify possible fair housing "hot spots" that may need attention. Encourage your colleagues to combine resources to distribute outreach materials and staff educational events. Discuss new venues and places to increase your fair housing outreach efforts.
  • Case Development:
    As discussed in NFHTA’s Fundamentals of Fair Housing – Intake course, FHIPs and FHAPs can partner to develop cases for investigation. For example, if there is an aggrieved party who reports that he/she/they received conflicting information about the availability of a dwelling, that situation is ripe for a FHIP to test. Once a test has been designed and executed, the FHIP should brief the FHAP on the results of the test if the FHIP will be moving forward with a referral. During that conversation, both agencies can discuss additional information that is needed or what the perfected fair housing complaint may look like.

In Case You Missed It...

July National Fair Housing Forum Materials Now Available

On July 21, 2021, NFHTA partnered with NFHA for a Fair Housing Forum on Post-COVID Mortgage Forbearance Options and Preventing Discriminatory Foreclosures. An insightful discussion with experts in the field covered the following topics:

  • Fair housing foreclosure effects of the pandemic on people of color and others in protected classes.
  • Current status of the federal foreclosure moratorium.
  • Current foreclosure and loss mitigation assistance programs.
  • Legal standards for combating foreclosure as a fair housing violation.
  • Tools to stop foreclosures that violate fair housing laws.
  • Potential partnerships between FHIP and FHAP agencies and local legal aid and housing counseling organizations.

July Fair Housing Forum Recording

A recording of the event, along with an updated list of resources is now available.

View the Forum Materials

We encourage you to have conversations within your agency on ways to prevent discriminatory foreclosures. View resources to assist in foreclosure prevention.

To build your capacity to address this critical issue, please enroll in a NFHTA instructor led course.

Upcoming Events

Instructor Led Courses

Register Now | Fundamentals of Fair Housing - Intake

August 30-September 2, 2021 | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET

Save the Date | Basics of Fair Housing

September 20-23, 2021 | 1:00 PM - 4:00 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