State agencies join forces with lawmakers and community groups to celebrate Fair Housing Month

Contact: Todd Heywood heywoodt@michigan.gov

Lansing, MI– In honor of the 51st anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act ensuring access to housing regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status or disability, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority have joined forces with the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus and the MLBC Historian, State Rep. Padma Kuppa, for a series of public events to shine a light on  Michigan’s history of fighting to assure fair housing.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed April “Fair Housing Month,” in recognition of the anniversary of the law.

The events will feature panels from the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion’s educational display on redlining in Detroit. This exhaustive educational tool features 30 items exploring the history of redlining, a process created by federal mortgage backers that denied access to secured mortgages and investment in communities of color.

“This is an important, powerful opportunity to explore how history continues to influence Michigan’s housing market,” said Dr. Agustin V. Arbulu, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “The Michigan Civil Rights Commission revealed that redlining was an underlying factor in the Flint Water Crisis. As a result, the department has been leading the way in raising awareness of how historical housing laws, rules and actions continue to impact Michigan communities. This series of events offers  a powerful opportunity for us to talk about how we still continue to fight the legacy of discrimination even after the passage of the federal fair housing laws 51 years ago.”

“MSHDA is proud to partner with the Department of Civil Rights and anyone who shares an interest in fostering communities free from discrimination in housing leasing, purchasing, financing and development,” said Acting MSHDA Director Gary Heidel. “When we work together, not just during Fair Housing Month but year-round, we can address disparities and create truly integrated, balanced communities and areas of housing opportunity for all.”

The events will include:

April 9, 2019, a dozen panels from the Redlining exhibit will be available for public viewing during regular Capitol business hours until Friday, April 12.

April 16-26, panels from the Redlining Exhibit will be on display at Lansing City Hall Lobby, 124 W. Michigan Ave. Lansing MI 48933. Access to the exhibit is free during regular business hours.

April 23, 2019, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. panel discussion on the impact of redlining, the Fair Housing Act and the construction of I-496 in Lansing, facilitated by Dr. Agustin V. Arbulu, executive director MDCR.  What happened when Lansing’s thriving black neighborhood was leveled to make way for I-496? Lansing City Hall Lobby, 124 W. Michigan Ave. Lansing MI 48933.

April 29-30, 2019.  The entire Redlining Exhibit on display at the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48933. The exhibit will be on display for two days at the Building Michigan Communities Conference for conference attendees.

“Ensuring that people can find a place to live without being discriminated against is crucial not only for the equal treatment of all Michiganders but in our pursuit of social justice,” said Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint). “With the 51st anniversary of the Fair Housing Act upon us, this is an excellent time to see how far we have come and look to see where we can improve. I am dedicated to continuing this work and I am encouraged by the progress we have made already.”

“As a former Planning Commissioner, I’ve been concerned about affordable housing challenges we face today. I’ve realized that by learning from our history and especially this exhibit, today’s challenges are related to our past.” State Rep. Kuppa said. “I’m honored to build relationships with various partners as we in the state legislature work together to build opportunity for all Michiganders, including access to affordable housing.”

“The ‘We Dont Want Them’: Race and Housing in Metropolitan Detroit, Traveling Exhibit is a case study of the impact and evolution of systemic spatial racism as regions throughout Michigan and the country share similar narratives. Education and awareness building are but the beginning steps of undoing the disparate impact housing segregation has had on our black communities and communities of color and us collectively moving towards a racially just society,” said Steven Spreitzer, President and CEO of Michigan Roundtable.

Local, state, and federal fair housing resources are available across Michigan to address questions or complaints of discrimination. Find contact information for your area here.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the operational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law. For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to www.Michigan.gov/mdcr.

 

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