Promoting an open door to housing choice
Our education programs and resources build awareness of what fair housing is and its importance to our community, train professionals in the housing industry on the laws and fair practices, provide key guidance to government officials and lawmakers, and connect community agencies so they can apply fair housing in their work. We offer:
- General information sessions/presentations
- Keynote and panel presentations on fair housing and its role in the community
- Technical training on fair housing laws and practices
- One-on-one technical support via phone or email
- Annual community fair housing events, including the Fair Housing Luncheon & Workshop Series
- Regular book clubs to create community dialogue about fair housing
- Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House book reading and activities for first through fourth grade classrooms
- Housing Choice Game workshop facilitation for fifth and sixth grade classrooms
- Fact sheets, training resources, and more on our website
- Expert advice and best practices information and guides
- Fair housing brochures and material development
How it works
Currently, the Center’s education and outreach programs reach hundreds of housing providers (realtors, lenders, landlords, property managers, etc.) with valuable information on their rights and responsibilities under federal, state and local fair housing laws each year. The Center also provides technical advice to state and local governments as to their responsibilities under the relevant laws. The Center works with many partners to identify discriminatory practices under fair housing law and remedies to correct such practices. The Center's staff members provide fair housing presentations and seminars to many different organizations and groups in the West Michigan area, reaching over 1,000 individuals annually. The Center has trained more than 3,000 sales agents, rental agents, rental property owners and property managers.
The Center educates consumers and community members about how to recognize and report housing discrimination by providing information and referral services to callers with all types of housing related inquiries. Such inquiries are commonly related to issues such as housing subsidies or financial assistance, tenants’ rights, the condition and repair of housing and other landlord-tenant concerns. When callers with non-fair housing inquiries contact the Center, they are given general information about the protections provided by the fair housing laws and are then referred to an appropriate community group, government agency or social service agency.
The Center works to further fair housing by providing information about compliance with fair housing laws to every organization relative to housing. This large group includes property managers, landlords, mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, realtors, developers, builders, homeowners’ insurance agents, government offices, city/township planners, commissioners, zoning staff and advertisers. The Center works with many groups by specifically identifying their fair housing implications based on the role they play in housing, thereby leading to fewer complaints and the reduced likelihood of punitive damages in court. Many run into regulatory barriers that close off markets to them and the Center is able to help remove them to open up the housing market.
The Center has developed a training seminar exclusively for advertisers and sales staff, helping them understand fair housing and how it can be used as a tool to advance their business not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is good for business. The Center is developing specialized training for other segments of the housing industry, and is committed to providing a wide curriculum of up to date, expert fair housing training and education.