Project Sentinel’s 8th Annual Fair Housing Symposium


 In Our Backyard:Why Everyone Should Care About Fair Housing

 May 15, 2015 | 8 AM- 4:30 PM

Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA




Project Sentinel cordially invites you to join us on May 15, 2015 for our 8th Annual Fair Housing Symposium, “In Our Backyard: Why Everyone Should Care About Fair Housing.”


The Fair Housing Symposium provides an opportunity to dialogue with individuals possessing diverse backgrounds of housing expertise about pressing issues of discrimination in our community and what we – as service providers, lenders, housing providers, advocates, social activists, government employees and community members alike – can do to halt its damaging effects. This day-long event attracts hundreds of Fair Housing advocates and stakeholders from all over the Bay Area, and will feature 9 workshops on a variety of topics of interest to anyone who works in or cares about the field of fair housing.


R. Tamar Hagler joins us as this year’s keynote speaker. Ms. Hagler is the Deputy Chief in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and specifically handles all fair housing cases in California, as well as in other western states. She is also the co-author of a report on homelessness across the United States.


Join us in surveying our ‘shared backyard,’ and in working towards a better understanding of what the Fair Housing Laws are about, what they mean today, and how we can make change in our communities. The registration fee is $30, which includes lunch, and fee waiver requests are available. MCLE certificates available.


Date of Symposium: May 15, 2015

Location: Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA

                1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043



8:00 – 8:30 AM          

Registration and Breakfast

8:30 9:00 AM         

Welcome Address

9:00 – 10:30 AM        

Workshop Session 1

10:45 – 12:15 PM

Workshop Session 2

12:30 – 2:00 PM        

Lunch and Keynote Address

2:15 – 3:45 PM

Workshop Session 3

4:00 – 4:30 PM

Closing Address

 **Each workshop session has three panels that last 1.5 hours.  Please note that you will be selecting one panel from each of the workshop sessions to attend.


Keynote Speaker: R. Tamar Hagler, Deputy Chief in Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice


Click here to register for the Fair Housing Symposium.


Symposium workshops will include:

Workshop Session 1

Fair Housing 101: An Introduction to Fair Housing

For those who are new to fair housing or simply need to refresh the basics, this panel will provide an historical background of fair housing law as well as an overview of fair housing laws and procedures.  This will include a review of both federal and California laws, a discussion of the government’s role in investigating complaints, and what we can all do ensure equality in housing.    


Effective Advocacy with Diverse and Divergent Populations

Acts of discrimination, and the subsequent enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, affect each client differently. Effective advocacy involves recognition of this fact and awareness of the advocate’s own implicit biases, and the particular cultural, racial, gender-based, religious and other personal perspectives of the client that may differ significantly from your own. This workshop will highlight techniques to be used by advocates to achieve a better understanding of the individual client’s needs and objectives. Experienced practitioners who work with varied populations will discuss techniques they have implemented to ensure effective advocacy with diverse populations and the avoidance of reliance on stereotypes in interactions with clients.


Beyond the Closer Parking Space: Complex and Challenging Reasonable Accommodation Issues

This panel will discuss the issues presented by more complex and challenging reasonable accommodation scenarios, including medical marijuana usage, behavior problems related to medical conditions such as autism or schizophrenia, and hoarding, and will explore the creative uses of reasonable accommodation to address other challenging housing issues faced by many disabled tenants. Although the panel may briefly outline the basic requirements of a reasonable accommodation, the focus will be on a more in-depth discussion of problem situations the panelists have encountered and the challenges of using reasonable accommodation and the fair housing laws as a tool to address those issues.



Workshop Session 2

Cutting Edge of the Law: Current Fair Housing Issues, and Creative Solutions
This workshop will be a participatory panel in which multiple panelists will discuss some of the trends and current problems they see cropping up in the fair housing world, as well as creative advocate responses to these issues.  The panelists will discuss a wide range of cutting edge issues in fair housing from their own practice, including litigation against condominium complex HOAs that have created “no Sec. 8 tenant” rules, new developments in sexual orientation and gender stereotyping cases, emerging trends in reasonable accommodations and the recent backlash against companion animals. Come with questions, and hopefully walk away with inspiration and fodder for your own fair housing advocacy.


Aging in Place: Discrimination and Housing Choice in the Senior Community  

As the country’s population begins to age at a rapid pace, policymakers across the country have begun to seek new ways to address the housing needs of this growing demographic. When polled, seniors overwhelmingly report that they want to remain in their own homes as long as possible. This workshop will provide an overview of the unique housing needs of our senior population, including LGBT seniors, and will explore how the Fair Housing laws can help facilitate this choice, and  how advocates, housing providers and local governments can work together to promote aging in place free from discrimination.

The Challenges of Complying with the Fair Housing Laws for the Small Housing Provider

In recognition of the presence of a growing number of small housing providers in our region, this panel seeks to shed light on some of the unique issues faced by such housing providers, by the attorneys who represent them and by the advocates who assist their tenants. Whether you are a small housing provider, a tenant, or advocate, this panel will provide you with insight about the fair housing issues that “mom and pop” housing providers experience, and how to address these issues.


Workshop Session 3

Difficult Communications Between Landlords and Tenants

Termination, Rent Increase, Rent Payment, Perform or Quit, Maintenance vs Damage, Lease Break, Lease Violations – all of these routine communications between landlords and tenants are unpleasant at best.  Because the stakes are high on both sides, and there is an apparent power imbalance, the chances of things going sideways are unusually high.  How can both landlords and tenants be better prepared for those difficult conversations that need to take place? What are the benefits of such discussions at an early stage and how can the Alternative Dispute Resolution services of Project Sentinel help in that process? Whether you are a small housing provider,  or a tenant (advocate), this panel will provide you with tools and resources to pro-actively pre-empt many of the issues experienced during the tenant/landlord relationship.


Moving Forward: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Act contains a mandate that HUD affirmatively further fair housing through its funding and housing and urban development programming. Not only is this mandate designed to provide remedies for and remove the effects of past discrimination, but it also requires taking steps to prevent discrimination in the future. This workshop will explore what affirmatively furthering fair housing means and what is being done in northern California to meet this obligation. The panels will discuss this topic from a variety of perspectives: the federal government, local government, and the private and public interest bars.


The Impact of Bank Owned Properties in Communities of Color

A NFHA study shows that banks have been under-maintaining properties in communities of color as compared to predominantly white communities.  White communities have more quickly recovered from the foreclosure crisis than communities of color, and this imbalance perpetuates the cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity in communities of color. Specifically, foreclosed, bank-owned homes in white communities have been sold more quickly because they look more attractive since the banks maintained them well, whereas foreclosed homes in communities of color have been under-maintained by the banks and thus, many remain bank-owned, which keeps those communities in blight and reduces chances that they will receive economic and other resources.  The panel will discuss the magnitude of this problem in the Bay Area, the impact of the practice, and what can be done about it.


 Don’t wait to register! Space is limited!


Click here to register for the Fair Housing Symposium.

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