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Welcome to the Greater Newburyport YWCA.

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fair housing

On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, the YWCA Greater Newburyport hosted a lunch which focused on the issue of Fair Housing.  Not only was April, Fair Housing Month, but YWCAs throughout the country were participating in Stand Against Racism, an event designed to raise awareness that racism continues to exist in our country and our community.

Ann Seligsohn, a Fair Housing Specialist, from the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston led the presentation.  Ann noted that Massachusetts established a fair housing law, almost 20 years prior to the Federal Legislation.  While good intentioned, this law, in reality, supported little to no change in discriminatory behavior.  The Fair Housing Act, which passed in 1968 originally called for a $500 fine, which was often considered the “cost of doing business.”  When fines were revised to $5,000 for the first occurrence, people began to take the law seriously.

This is not to imply that housing discrimination was eliminated.  In fact, testing by the Fair Housing Center, and the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University both determined that discrimination occurred almost 50% of the time in the Merrimack Valley.  These studies informed the Analysis to Impediments to Fair Housing report for Essex County (with specific references to the Merrimack Valley).

One conclusion of the analysis is that better training for REALTORs and Real Estate Agents on Fair Housing Law is needed.

The lunch sponsored by the YWCA began with a series of 20 questions which formed the introduction to the training.  As each person answered the question, a discussion ensued.  Of course, some of the questions were tricky ones to elicit additional comments.

Ann concluded the training by handing out and discussing several fact sheets:

Fair Housing and the Law – The basics
Disability and Fair Housing Law
Massachusetts Lead Paint
National Origin vs. Immigration (“alienage”) status
Information for Real Estate Agents

These documents have been provided by and are the property of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston.  You must obtain their permission to distribute these documents.

The YWCA hopes to invite the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston back next year to expand the training to include landlords, mortgage lenders and town planners.

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The Fair Housing Center

Fair Housing and the Law – The basics
Disability and Fair Housing Law
Massachusetts Lead Paint
National Origin vs. Immigration (“alienage”) status
Information for Real Estate Agents

These documents have been provided by and are the property of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston.  You must obtain their permission to distribute these documents.

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