On Friday, April 28th, RHA convened an important panel discussion with our Community Partners to have an open and transparent discussion about discrimination in the housing market and to shed light on, as well as to commemorate, the 55th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act signed into legislation.
Our Community Partner Presenters and Panelists included:
- Tessa Skogh, Fair Housing Attorney, Prairie State Legal Services
- Michael Hedrick, Director of Outreach Services, Rockford Rescue Mission
- Caitlyn Baylor, Grants & Special Initiatives Director, Habitat for Humanity
This event was a great opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made in advancing civil rights and to continue the important work of promoting fair housing for all. It is important for organizations and individuals to actively work toward creating inclusive and diverse communities. One of the many ways that this can be achieved, is through policies that promote fair housing practices. Other ways include creating accessible housing options for people with disabilities, and increasing diversity in neighborhoods and communities. During the question-and-answer period Tessa Skogh stated that, “having a diverse work place has many benefits including that we all grew up with different experiences and now can help others in the same experience on a personal level.”
Understanding the history of the Fair Housing Act is crucial to recognizing the progress that has been made and the challenges that still exist. While progress has been made in combating these practices, discrimination and inequality still exist in the housing market today. Caitlyn Baylor made a point of stating, “becoming a homeowner as a person of color is a very drawn-out experience. With people of color paying more for homes and when it comes time to sell the home, many people do not get the same sale value of the home.”
We want to thank our panelists for joining us in providing an insightful presentation and subsequent discussion. Thank you to all of the individuals who were in attendance. Your continued support assists the sustained vision of the Rockford Housing Authority to provide quality affordable housing for all in our community.