On Tuesday, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) co-hosted the 13th Annual D.C. Fair Housing Symposium in conjunction with the D.C. Office of Human Rights, the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development and the D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council.

This year’s Symposium was held at the Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church, a few blocks from downtown Washington, D.C. The 13th Annual D.C. Fair Housing Symposium brought together community advocates and other professionals to provide critical information on fair housing and to increase their toolbox of resources in addressing housing discrimination with their respective constituencies. This year’s symposium focused on four critical trends in modern housing discrimination practices: inaccessibility of housing features, source of income discrimination, steering, and discriminatory practices in digital advertising.

District Mayor Vincent C. Gray was the keynote speaker of the event. In his remarks, Mayor Gray spoke to his own experience advocating for individuals with disabilities in housing early in career. Mayor Gray also emphasized the importance of fair housing policy and regulation as tools to ensure that the District of Columbia is a healthy and diverse community as the city continues to expand and grow. Speakers and presenters from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the D.C. Office of Disability Rights shared their various expertise on fair housing issues with the attendees.

Fair Housing is truly more than a collection of complicated policies and regulations. It is the fundamental belief that—no matter of an individual’s color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, or other protected trait —ALL individuals deserves the right to equal opportunity in housing. As an organization, the ERC relies on advocates—like those who attended this year’s Symposium—who understand that through education and action we can all make a difference in our communities.

We want to again give a special thank you Mayor Vincent C. Gray, the D.C. Office of Disability Rights, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and HUD for their participation in the day’s event. We would also like to thank Panera Bread for providing catering for the event, and the staff of the Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church for providing such a wonderful venue.

Lastly, and certainly not least, we want to thank our partners in the D.C. government who help us make this event a reality every year. The staff and leadership at the D.C. Office of Human Rights, the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, and the D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council who exemplify the dedication required to advocate for the right to fair housing for all.

To check out pictures from the event, visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EqualRightsCntr.

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