August 17, 2017

Education and Outreach

Housing Rights for Immigrant conference in OaklandStanford law lectureAHAP

Educational and outreach activities are an important part of the work of HRI staff. This is for two reasons:

  1. To inform the public about our services (outreach) and
  2. To educate the public about their housing rights and responsibilities (education). Sometimes the same event accomplishes both.

Find below:

Priority targets:

  • Schools. Check out this section of our website for some fun activities. It is never too early to influence future tenants and landlords
  • Publications. This is the information that we have developed and make available to the public
  • Fair Housing Outreach. We understand and accept the challenge to explain this complex concept to the general public, especially individuals who may experience housing discrimination. Housing Discrimination is very seldom obvious.
  • Elected/public officials. Because we are funded by several local jurisdictions to address the housing problems of their residents we receive a large percentage of our calls from elected and public officials.
  • CBO’s. Our relationship with our callers/clients is usually of very short duration. And while some cases may take several years to reach a resolution, our contact with our clients is usually limited to discussion regarding their housing related problems only. This is a different type of relationship than many other Community Based Organizations have with their clients. Therefore, we recognize and appreciate that relationship and seek partnerships with other CBO’s for the dual purpose of
    1. providing their staff with a resource (us) and tips on how to identify the housing problems of their clients and
    2. asking them for access to their clients through distribution of written material and scheduling presentations and workshops. We target Faith-based organizations , Childcare Centers, ESL schools (English as a Second Language), CBO’s that serve immigrants, people with disabilities, people who are homeless, foster youth ‘aging out’ of the system and low and lower income families.

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Why Education and Outreach Activities are Important

Of interest is at study, conducted in 2002 by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development which contracted with the Urban Institute to develop a survey of a random sample of the American Public. The survey assessed public awareness of and support for fair housing law. The findings are published in a document called: “How Much Do We Know?” available at www.huduser.org.

Some of the more significant findings include:

  • 38% of those surveyed disapproved of discriminatory acts and knew that they were illegal.
  • 28% disapproved of illegal acts but didn’t know that they were illegal.
  • 21% approved of illegal acts and did not know that they were illegal and,
  • 13% approved of illegal acts and knew that they were illegal.

They also found that “persons who are highly knowledgeable about fair housing law are in a better position than others to be able to identify or detect situations involving discrimination.”

Therefore, not only to we serve anyone who want to find out about their housing rights, we also serve people who don’t know they have housing rights, housing providers who don’t know they are responsible for respecting others housing rights, housing providers who don’t know that there are housing rights and housing providers who don’t care that there are housing rights.

This presents quite a challenge for agencies such as ours.

We are very involved in the communities we serve. Call us if you are interested in co-sponsoring or arranging any of the following activities.

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Types of Activities

TRAINING: We have staff trained to conduct workshops in the following topics (depending upon the setting there might be a fee for our services):

  • Financial Education
  • Homebuyer Education
  • Homeowner Education – Predatory Lending
  • Fair Housing is Good Business (for Real Estate Agents PENDING)
  • Fair Housing is Good Business for property managers and city and county staff.
  • Housing Rights & Responsibilities of Renters
  • Housing Rights & Responsibilities of Landlords
  • How to organize a Tenant Association

We are able to conduct most of these activities in English and Spanish. We are also available to develop workshops that are tailored to your training needs.

Festivals or other community activities. We have materials, which includes arts and crafts activities for children and youth (and our own awning) including material for children. Have festival will travel…..call us!

Presentations: we are available to make presentations regarding our services and how people can reach us. Just let us know where to show up.

Mutual In-service: we are available to meet with the staff of other community based organizations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to learn how we can refer clients to each other, learn from each other and work together.

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