Idaho Fair Housing Forum

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Idaho Fair Housing Forum re-boot set for October, 2021

Get ready for some renewed activity and energy for the Idaho Fair Housing Forum! We will be rounding up long-time and new partners to revive the legacy or productive collaboration among Idaho stakeholders.

The Idaho Fair Housing Forum was created in 2003 through the initiative of Brian Dale, then a Community Builder with HUD’s Idaho State Field Office. The collaborative effort helped re-start and improve dialogue among housing providers, public and private sector partners, and fair housing advocates.

As Facilitator, Brian’s goal was to create a ‘safe space,’ where every stakeholder could exchange ideas, ask questions and seek collaborative solutions that reduced fair housing act violations through better communication, thereby reducing the net cost of housing. And to a large extent, it worked!

Three HUD staff pose together, on the left, Kristina Miller, seated on a powered scooter in the center is Brian Dale, and at right is Michael Look waring a suit and tie

Kristina Miller – HUD/Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity; Brian Dale – State Director, Idaho Field Office; and Michael Look, Region X Deputy Regional Administrator

The original Forum included a diverse mix of stakeholders. For over 15 years the group met regularly and pooled our resources to create innovative outreach materials, including annual Fair Housing Month events, calendars, and long-running campaigns.

Fast forward to 2020, and Brian Dale is now the State Director of HUD’s Idaho Field Office. Several factors—including a pandemic—led to an extended hiatus, but partners are committed to rolling up our virtual sleeves and working together toward shared goals with new collaborative leadership.

Stay tuned for updates and new projects!

Fair Housing Fall | Good Neighbors + Fair Housing = Strong Communities

Idaho Fair Housing Forum partners are breathing new life into the ‘Good Neighbors + Fair Housing = Strong Communities campaign. This joint effort among Treasure Valley entitlement communities and IHFA includes radio and television spots along with evergreen posters that remind everyone that fair housing choice benefits everyone.

The initial campaign aimed to create a simple referral option through the Idaho 2-1-1 Care Line. The 2-1-1 staff and management developed a protocol to track and refer calls or complaints.

In September you will be able to find our cities sharing the importance of Fair Housing  through various radio and local advertising channels. If you would like to help amplify this message, please feel free to use the poster below.

Campaign posters available in English and Spanish

See this previous post for links to audio and video PSAs.

The group is also working to jump-start the regular Forum discussions; more on this in another post!

Fair Housing Means Access and Accommodation

The June 22, 2021 Fair Housing webinar focused on fair housing considerations for people with disabilities. Several key stakeholders involved in disability rights and advocacy participated in the discussion of fair housing protections in light of the current housing crisis, which impacts people with disabilities and other protected classes much harder that it does the general population.

One question came up in the follow-up discussion:

What is the statute of limitations on filing a fair housing complaint? HUD’s position:

FHEO begins its complaint investigation process shortly after receiving a complaint. You must file your complaint within one year of the last date of the alleged discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. Other civil rights authorities allow for complaints to be filed after one year for good cause, but FHEO recommends filing as soon as possible.

The group agreed that those in the areas of housing and community development would benefit from a more inclusive planning and design process that engages people with disabilities to inform strategies that make communities more livable and affordable to everyone.

Links to session materials and referenced resources:

Why fair housing matters to…

As part of a Fair Housing Innovative Partnership – Education Outreach Initiative (FHIP-EOI) grant, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) created a series of first-person videos to understand how fair housing impacts all people. The idea was to interview individuals protected by fair housing laws, as well as employers, economists, developers, housing providers, planners and advocates.

These videos are available for sharing via social media, and provide first-hand, unscripted perspectives of real Idahoans and experts in several fields.

Most Americans understand the Fair Housing Act as landmark Civil Rights legislation prohibiting housing discrimination against members of protected classes and requiring reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Increasingly, research shows overall economic and social benefits made possible through more diverse communities, and economic opportunities created through housing choice—the right to live where we choose and can afford.

Economic opportunity depends on several factors made possible through fair housing choice, including access to essential community resources like employment, education, social services, recreation and transportation. At a very basic level, housing choice lets us build social capital—the network of trusted relationships and connections that can lead to better jobs, child care, and civic engagement.

As several interviewees point out, the social diversity made possible through fair housing is essential to a more diverse and resilient economy. Members of protected classes bring fresh perspective, ideas and energy that can boost productivity and efficiency; they become economic producers and entrepreneurs who create jobs. At the same time, they are consumers helping drive demand for more diverse products and services, which also creates additional employment opportunities. All of this generates economic energy and demand for taxable goods and services.

As author Jim Tankersley (The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True History of America’s Middle Class) sums it up,

…if you could give me one thing to do to supercharge the economy, I would say, end discrimination across the American economy. Discrimination is holding back our economy. It’s holding back our middle class.

Please take a few moments to explore these first-person videos to understand the importance fair housing through a different lens, and help spread the word by sharing them with others.

Spanish-language interviews | En Español