The HOPE Fair Housing Center (HOPE) held its annual conference Wednesday, bringing together lawmakers, real estate professionals, civil rights organizations, and advocates in Geneva, Illinois.
This year’s conference, themed HOPE for Housing: Meeting the Moment in Housing Justice, celebrates 55 years since the passage of the Fair Housing Act and the formation of the HOPE Fair Housing Center. The event took place in person after two years of being held virtually.
The HOPE Conference provides valuable information, advice, and support for those working toward fair, accessible, and equitable housing across the U.S.
The Fair Housing Act passed in 1968, prohibits discrimination by direct providers of housing, including landlords, real estate companies, municipalities, banks or other lending institutions, and homeowners insurance companies based on race, sex, gender, disability, or national origin.
In the 55 years since the act was passed, housing discrimination continues for minorities and Black Americans through redlining, real estate appraisals, and banking discrimination.
The HOPE conference featured prominent housing leaders, including Allison Bethel, director of the Fair Housing Clinic at the University of Illinois-Chicago Law School; Government Affairs Director Neeley Erickson from the Illinois Association of Realtors; President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), DuPage County Mabel Guzman; and attorney Kate Walz of the National Housing Law Project (NHLP).
Additionally, Gianna Baker, the co-executive director of the Chicago Fair Housing Alliance, received HOPE’s 2023 Fair Housing Hero Award for her long-standing housing justice advocacy.
“We are beyond excited to return to an in-person event that unites stakeholders from all corners of the housing industry,” said HOPE Executive Director Michael Chavarria. “We want our partners to leave the event invigorated by the powerful fair housing community in Illinois and empowered to find innovative strategies that expand the way we do our work.”
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported in March that less than 50% of Black Americans (44%) are homeowners in the U.S., which is less than Hispanic Americans (50.6%), Asian Americans (62.8%), and White Americans (72.7%).
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