For Immediate Release
Alexis Squire, Equal Rights Center, 202-370-3209


WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014—Today the Equal Rights Center (ERC)—a national non-profit civil rights organization — 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.

“Housing discrimination remains a key barrier to equality and equal opportunity in the District of Columbia,” said Melvina Ford, executive director of the ERC. “Housing affects all aspects of an individual’s life, including the quality of health care you receive, the education your children get, and even the quality of the produce you buy at the local grocery store.”

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 accessibility features, source of income discrimination, steering, and discriminatory practices in digital advertising.

District Mayor Vincent 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.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability nationwide. Additionally, the District of Columbia Human Rights Act provides further protections against discrimination based on age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, place of residence or business of any individual, or whether the victim of an intra-family offense.

The 13th Annual D.C. Fair Housing Symposium was sponsored in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


About the Equal Rights Center (
Originally formed in 1983, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) is a national non-profit civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. With members located in every state and the District of Columbia, the ERC works nationally to promote equal opportunity in housing, employment, disability rights, immigrant rights, and access to public accommodations and government services for all protected classes under federal, state, and local laws.

About the D.C. Office of Human Rights ( The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live, work, or visit in the District of Columbia. The primary function of the agency is to enforce the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act, the District of Columbia Parental Leave Act and the District of Columbia Language Access Act.

About the D.C. Office Housing and Community Development ( The mission of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is to create and preserve opportunities for affordable housing and economic development and to revitalize underserved communities in the District of Columbia.

About the D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council (
The Developmental Disabilities Council of the District of Columbia seeks to strengthen the voice of people with developmental disabilities and their families in DC in support of greater independence, inclusion, empowerment and the pursuit of life as they choose. We strive to create change that eliminates discrimination and removes barriers to full inclusion through our advocacy.

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