CITY ATTORNEY LAUNCHES FAIR HOUSING DRIVE FOR APRIL

 


April 10, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:   Gary Rhoades, Consumer Protection Attorney, (310) 458-8348
   

The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit office has announced a comprehensive campaign for the month of April to improve community awareness of the fair housing laws and to help eliminate housing discrimination in the city. April is National Fair Housing Month. 

The city’s awareness campaign includes the following: 

Fair Housing Month Proclamation:  Tonight, the City Council will consider a resolution proclaiming April as Santa Monica’s official Fair Housing Month. This is in recognition of the 39th anniversary of Congress passing and President Johnson signing the Fair Housing Act of 1968. 

The City of Santa Monica was one of the first cities to pass its own fair housing ordinance prohibiting housing discrimination. The proposed proclamation this week recognizes the value of all these laws and an open community.

Fair Housing Poster Contest:  Elementary students from across Santa Monica participated in the Consumer Unit’s annual Fair Housing Poster Contest, creating colorful works that featured the 2007 theme, “Fair Housing Builds Bridges.” Nine students’ posters were selected for display in the lobby of City Hall during the week of April 23. Some of the posters will also be published as calendars for 2008 and will be part of the City’s fair housing ad campaign.

Fair Housing Ad Campaign:  The city will place community awareness advertisements in local newspapers beginning the week of April 9.  The “Fair Housing Builds Bridges” display ads will remind residents that fair0 housing has been the law of the land since 1968.  The ads will also notify residents where they can learn more about the fair housing laws such as www.fairhousing.com, fair housing videos on www.youtube.com  (just type in “fair housing” into YouTube’s search feature) as well as the City Attorney’s consumer-oriented website at www.smconsumer.org.  The city has urged all local news groups, print and online (all of whom are subject to the fair housing laws when they publish advertising for the sale or rental of any housing) to volunteer to republish the ads as many times as possible during April.

Fair Housing Seminar:  The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) and the City’s Consumer Protection Unit are co-sponsoring a fair housing workshop on April 26, 2007 from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Santa Monica Library. The workshop is part of the city’s and AAGLA’s efforts to increase awareness in Santa Monica of the fair housing laws during April, Fair Housing Month. For more information and to register go to www.smconsumer.org

The workshop’s presenters will explain federal and state fair housing laws that prohibit housing discrimination. They will also discuss families with children, reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, and alternatives to litigation such as mediation and the administrative complaint process. The presenters include Beth Rosen-Prinz, California Department of Fair Employment & Housing; Adam Radinsky, Deputy City Attorney; John Shulhoff, President of AAGLA; Gary Rhoades, Attorney for the City of Santa Monica; Craig Mordoh, Local Attorney; and Peter Mezza, Santa Monica Housing Authority.

Lainy Parry, AAGLA Board Member and Santa Monica resident, said, “Fair housing for all is a practice vigorously pursued by AAGLA.  Everyone deserves a fair shot at getting an apartment, and AAGLA takes pride in promoting equal opportunity.”  Parry also noted that, “This cooperative venture between AAGLA and the City of  Santa Monica is too rare and should be the beginning of good things to come, as there is much more common ground for future projects.”

Adam Radinsky, who heads the Consumer Protection Unit, agreed: “The venture with AAGLA is a great example of a new bridge being built when two groups sit down to discuss a mutually important topic.”

All landlords, property managers, advocates, attorneys, social service providers, and interested tenants are invited to attend free of charge.  Please go to www.smconsumer.org  to register for the workshop (register early as space is limited) or call 310-458-8345 with any questions.    

Fair Housing Turns Big Blue:  Fair Housing posters will be placed in all of the City’s Big Blue Buses.  This is the first time the City has utilized the display ad space in the buses for consumer-oriented awareness messages. 

Fair Housing Enforcement:  As it has for many years, the Consumer Protection Unit investigates and prosecutes violations of the fair housing laws in Santa Monica. 

The federal Fair Housing Act, including its amendments in 1988, prohibits housing discrimination that is based on race, religion, national origin, gender, or disability. The federal laws also protect families with children. California’s own Fair Employment and Housing Act adds additional categories for which discrimination is prohibited, including ancestry and sexual orientation.  

For more information or to report a complaint, go to www.smconsumer.org or call 310-458-8336.

 

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This page was last updated on 02/28/11.