Marin County’s youth gathered to highlight the gravity of equal opportunity housing for all, in honor of Fair Housing Month. Equipped with posters they created, children from various schools and after school programs were recognized for their participation in the 2016 Fair Housing Poster Contest. “Can I Be Your Neighbor?” one poster read, drawing attention to the difficulty many face when seeking housing. Today,
about 10,000 discrimination complaints are filed each year according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD. However, the National Fair Housing Alliance estimates that the number of minorities experiencing this kind of discrimination is closer to 4 million per year. Through the Fair Housing Act, Marin County embraces the importance of housing for all, independent of someone’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.
Why A Poster Contest?
It was one week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, amid riots, that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act. The 1963 Rumford Fair Housing Act in our own California, was influential in the federal law being passed, which was backed by the NAACP and CORE. Now, 48 years later, we celebrate the nationally recognized Fair Housing Month. “Where do the posters fit into this?” Kenneth J. Carroll - Center Director of San Francisco HUD – asked. “These are tools for Fair Housing education and outreach. Posters will help inform the community and educate the community about the right we all have to Fair Housing, also housing providers’ responsibilities to comply with the law.”
Equality For All
With the 2016 theme of “Opening Doors”, the children celebrated diversity by drawing people of all colors holding hands. One poster featured a house in the shape of a heart, emphasizing that loving homes should be available to all. Equality was a major topic among the entries as well. Very fitting, as investigations show that minorities are more than twice as likely to be rejected than whites when applying for mortgages. A Federal Reserve study among applicants for home-purchase loans show that African-Americans are denied 25% of the time, with Hispanic whites following at 19%, 20% for other minority borrowers, Asians at 12% and non-Hispanic whites at 10%.
Mayor of San Anselmo, Ford Greene, addressed the children when saying “We’ve all made a proclamation when it comes to housing, the law protects people. It says you can’t be mean and unfair.” This proclamation is being supported by many including the Fair Housing of Marin, the only housing agency in Marin County certified by HUD, who organized the event. Fair Housing of Marin invited housing providers PFI Incorporated, and Prandi Property Management, to show their support to the celebrations.
“Students are the most important part of today’s event” Caroline Peattie, Executive Director at Fair Housing Marin, told the audience. It is encouraging and true pleasure to see Marin’s youth use their talents and creativity to bring attention to such an important cause. If you would like to join these young ones in their efforts to provide fair housing for all or are in need of some assistance, you may contact Fair Housing of Marin here.