WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 5, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Vermont Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will convene a public meeting to examine the persistence of housing discrimination in Vermont. The meeting will be held in the Vermont State House, Room 11, 115 State Street, Montpelier.
Forty-seven years ago President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (FHA), a federal law aimed at ending blatant housing discrimination against African Americans. The law also proscribes housing discrimination based on national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.
In the last few months, there has been more attention on housing discrimination. In June, President Obama announced new rules against racial discrimination in the housing market and the Supreme Court upheld the use of the disparate impact analysis under the Fair Housing Act. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would provide $39.2 million to fight housing discrimination under HUD’s 2015 Fair Housing Initiatives Program.
Despite laws banning housing discrimination, Vermont housing analysts say it is an ongoing issue in Vermont and that discrimination is sometimes subtle. In 2014, Vermont Legal Aid released the results of a two-year study it undertook to look at housing discrimination in Vermont. According to Vermont Legal Aid, the testing results demonstrate “preferential treatment toward White testers of U.S. origin without children and without an apparent disability.”
The Advisory Committee will hear from government officials, representatives of advocacy organizations, and other experts to better understand the scope of housing discrimination in Vermont and potential solutions to remedy the problem. The briefing is open to the public.
Panel One (10 to 11:15)
- Marsha Curtis, Testing Coordinator, Vermont Legal Aid, Housing Discrimination Law Project
- Rebecca Plummer, Staff Attorney, Vermont Legal Aid, Housing Discrimination Law Project
- Karen Richards, Executive Director, Human Rights Commission
- Ted Wimpey, Project Director, Fair Housing Project, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity
Panel Two (11:25 to 12:25)
- Jen Hollar, Deputy Commissioner, ACCD/Dept. of Housing & Community Development
- David Sagi, ADA Program Manager, AHS/Department ofDisabilities, Aging & Independent Living
- Cliff Bergh, Director of Field Services, Vermont State Housing Authority
Panel Three (1:00 to 2:00)
- David DeAngelis, Section 8/Grants Administrator, Brattleboro Housing Authority
- Angela Zaikowski, Vermont Apartment Owners Association
Panel Four (2:00 to 3:00)
- Jacob Bogre, Executive Director, Association for Africans Living in Vermont
- Mary Brown Guillory, President, NAACP, Greater Champlain Chapter
- Sarah Launderville, Executive Director, Vermont Center for Independent Living
Monday, August 10, 2015 – 10:00am to 3:00pm