Registration deadline: Noon EST, 4/7/23
Information on registration
Thank you for your interest in the annual Fair Housing & Civil Rights Conference. This year’s conference is held over three days with workshops and keynote speakers.
New in 2023: Registered attendees will receive an email with Zoom links to all workshops in the week before the conference. No need to figure out your schedule now! Just register once and wait for the email with the links.
The majority of sessions will be recorded and can be accessed in our resource center after the conference has concluded.
Fair Housing &
Civil Rights Conference
April 11–13, 2023
REGISTRATION CLOSES NOON EST, 4/7/23
2023 Conference Workshops
April 11, 2023
Opening Session — Jamie Williamson
Join Jamie Williamson to open day one of the Fair Housing & Civil Rights Conference for a “fireside chat.”
Housing First for Survivors of the Sex Trade
Nicole Bell, CEO and Founder of LIFT and Desiree Demos, Senior Director of Community Based Programs, LIFT
This workshop will cover barrier to accessing safe housing for Survivors of the Sex Trade, Living in Freedom Together”s approach to advocacy and navigating housing options for Survivors, and ways agencies can work together to ensure those experiencing exploitation and substance use disorder can be connected with housing options and wraparound support services. This workshop will be led by two Survivor leaders, Nicole Bell and Desiree Demos.
Accessing Procurement Opportunities
Jerry D. Smith, Small Business Technical Advisor, Regional Small Business Advocacy and Engagement, Office of Small Business and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, US General Service Administration
A discussion with the US General Service Administration’s (GSA) New England Small Business Technical Advisor, on how your company, can use federal contracts to grow your company, and take advantage of your company’s socio economic status to access federal acquisition opportunities.
Detangling Dobbs: The Intersectionality Between Housing Instability And Reproductive Rights
Eliza Davern, Lawyers for Civil Rights
The overturning of Roe v. Wade unravels nearly fifty years of constitutional protections and devolves the power to regulate reproductive health to the states. This lecture seeks to explore and critique the impact of the Dobbs decision within the context of housing insecurity. People experiencing homelessness and housing instability have worse reproductive health outcomes, as access to stable housing has been identified as one the most important predictors of one’s health. These health and housing disparities are only compounded by the radical rollback of abortion rights.
Do Evictions Defund Nearby Schools?
Douglas Quattrochi, Executive Director, MassLandlords
Arjun Shanmugam, Eviction Data Researcher, MassLandlords
We provide an update on research into school funding as impacted by evictions. Assessed values of local real estate are lower in towns where evictions take place. This reduces tax revenue and school funding. This work shows how housing stability affects education success even for students whose families are not evicted.
Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (The FACE Act)
Amy Romero, AUSA, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island and Pepper Daigler Special Agent, FBI
Participants will learn about types of conduct that may violate the FACE Act, and civil and criminal enforcement for violations of the FACE Act.
Gender Identity and Expression Testing: key considerations in test design & LGBTQIA+ best practices
Nuri Sherif, Community Legal Aid of Massachusetts
As HUD encourages fair housing groups to focus on and screen more for gender identity and expression discrimination, groups that conduct fair housing tests should consider how to conduct gender identity and expression investigations. This workshop, led by a trans non-binary testing coordinator, will discuss key considerations for designing email, phone, or in-person tests and will cover best practices for working with trans and non-binary testers.
April 12, 2023
Opening Session — Jamie Williamson
Join Jamie Williamson and Jeffrey Paul May in conversation as they open Day Two of the Fair Housing & Civil Rights Conference. Come back on Thursday for part two of their chat.
Library Services and a Democracy in Crisis
Panelists: Andrea Puglisi, Sam Lee, and Megan Stanholtz, Library Freedom Project
This panel will be discussing the widespread challenges libraries are facing, the larger attack on public services and the implications that has for our communities, education systems and our ability to govern ourselves. Drawing on their experience, the panelists will share their expertise in building inclusive collections; providing access to reliable information to communities with a broad range of needs and competencies; and, the central role of privacy in information systems and public education.
EEOC Listening Session
Presented by: Ken An, Director, Boston Area Office, EEOC. With Elizabeth Marcus, Neile Eisner, Anastasia Doherty and Amon Kinsey.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee due to their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. EEOC’s Boston Area Office is comprised of five units: Intake, Enforcement, Legal, Mediation, and Federal Sector. We welcome you to join Boston team members Kenneth An, Director; Neile Eisner, Administrative Law Judge; Anastasia Doherty, Attorney; Elizabeth Marcus, Mediator; and, Amon Kinsey, CRTIU (Intake) Supervisor for an engaging and interactive dialog on all things EEOC. Attendees will walk away with a general understanding of the laws enforced by the EEOC, an overview and update from each unit, and information on how we collaborate with each other and our stakeholders to serve the public interest. This panel will include a question, answer and listening session. Our goal is to share information and understand the needs of our community. Please bring your strongest concerns, questions, and coffee.
Fair Housing Resources and Respondent’s obligations under the Fair Housing Act
Presented by: Kristen Barry, FHEO Region 1 Center Director
The panelist will give an overview of Respondent’s obligations under fair housing laws and will introduce new HUD resources available to the public on HUD exchange, including Respondent Obligations in Fair Housing Investigations Interactive Diagram and Assistance Animals and Fair Housing: Navigating Reasonable Accommodations Interactive Tool.
Keynote Speaker: Jill Ashton
Northeast Regional Administrator for the US Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau
Fair Housing 101
Panelists: H. John Fisher, Fair Housing Coordinator, Way Finders; Michelin Cahill, Community Legal Aid of Massachusetts
When we speak of fair housing rights, we are drawing on an interplay of federal and state regulations that can vary in their specifics from state to state but still share a common purpose. With primary focus on one state (Massachusetts), this workshop will explore the basics of how federal and state fair housing laws can join together to create an overall pattern of protection.
Presented by: Jamie Williamson, District Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Philadelphia District Office
To be human is to have biases. Bias is a part of being human and how we are hardwired to think. However, biases can have negative impacts on us and others. During this workshop you will learn the different types of biases, how and why they impact our behavior, and strategies to ensure that our biases do not limit ourselves or others.
Overcoming Discriminatory Challenges Faced by Voucher Holders
Presented by: Jon Burke, Jane Edmonstone, Todd Kaplan and Sofia Stavraki
Massachusetts is experiencing historic levels of housing unaffordability and inequity. Housing voucher programs are one tool that has the potential to meaningfully address housing instability and segregation. The goals of these programs have been stymied by continued, widespread discrimination. Panelists will discuss challenges that voucher holders experience in today’s housing market and legal approaches to overcoming them.
April 13, 2023
Opening Session — Jamie Williamson
Join Jamie Williamson and Jeffrey Paul May in part two of their conversation, as they open Day Three of the Fair Housing & Civil Rights Conference.
Fair Housing Enforcement in a Time of Crisis
Panelists: Rashida Rattray, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Maria Cuerda, Fair Housing Advocate, and Pam Heller, Staff Attorney; all from CT Fair Housing Center
According to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, more than two thirds of extremely low-income households in Connecticut spend more than 50% of their income on housing. Discrimination impedes the creation of and access to housing that is affordable and displaces members of protected classes from existing housing. Fair housing advocacy plays an integral role in preserving access to safe, affordable housing. At the same time that housing affordability has decreased, problems with conditions have increased, especially in communities of color and for people with disabilities. There is often little recourse available for tenants whose landlords are unresponsive to find relief on their own. Join staff from the Connecticut Fair Housing Center for a panel discussion on the role of fair housing enforcement and advocacy in maintaining access to housing for members of protected classes.
Entrepreneurism as an Act of Resistance: The Intersection between Civil Rights and Minority-Owned Businesses
Presented by: Katherine Montas, Lawyers for Civil Rights
Minority business owners were at the center of the Civil Rights movement and continue to be impactful leaders in today’s effort for social justice. Participants will come away with the knowledge to establish their small businesses and resources to access low-cost or free assistance. Dialogue will consist of how Civil Rights and Entrepreneurship are connected and why that matters today.
Keynote Speaker: Demetria McCain
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO)
Top Ten Tips/Guide for Undocumented Immigrants Post-Arrival
Presented by: H. Jennifer Cardoso, Lawyers for Civil Rights
A presentation for legal services and staff supporting undocumented immigrants upon arrival. The presentation will include information about documents received by Department of Homeland Security, how to change address with immigration court and ICE, how to find local shelters, and information about housing access. We want to inform newly arrived immigrants how they can stay protected under the law and how some of these steps can help them with their future in the United States.
Fair Housing: More Than Just Words
Panelists: Dan Weaver, FHEO Region 1 Director, and Kristen Barry, Program Compliance Branch Chief, HUD
The panelists will give an overview of the work the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity conducts, how HUD works with local government and non-profit partners, and how to report suspected violations of fair housing law.
The Future of Civil Rights
Panelists: Bob Terrell, Fair Housing, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Boston Housing Authority, Nadine Cohen, Managing Attorney of the Consumer Rights Unit, Greater Boston Legal Services, Whitney Demetrius, Director of Fair Housing Engagement, Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association and James Jennings, Professor Emeritus, Tufts University Department of Urban Environmental Planning and Public Policy.
The focus of the workshop will be an examination of the major trends and issues in fair housing, civil rights and democracy today. Participants will not only learn the importance of these issues but why they are strategic for the future of democracy in the United States. This workshop is designed to be informative to any and all participants at the conference but will have significant impact even on those with little civil rights background.