Friday, May 7, 2021

 

Thursday, May 6, 2021



May 27th Zoom Listening Session:
The Role of Insurance in Addressing
Health Care Inequities


Join Maryland Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Birrane and the Maryland Insurance Administration as we hear from invited panelists, interested stakeholders, and members of the public regarding the role insurance can play in addressing inequities in health care access and outcomes.

To sign-up to speak after the panelists, please do so by emailing listening.sessions@maryland.gov. Individuals who sign-up will be allotted a period of time to share their thoughts and experiences.

Throughout 2021, Commissioner Birrane and the MIA will hold a series of Listening Sessions to help the MIA more fully understand the experiences of specific communities relating to certain kinds of insurance. These Listening Sessions will assist us to fulfill our statutory mission to serve Marylanders both in our enforcement of Maryland’s insurance laws and in our development of tools, guides, and programs for consumers. 

May 27, 2021: 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.

Zoom Link: www.zoomgov.com/j/1603649556

Dial-in: (833) 568-8864

Webinar ID: 160 364 9556



Wednesday, April 21, 2021

 

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April 21, 2021 

MCCR Fair Housing Forum Flyer Link

Celebrate Fair Housing Month with the
Maryland Commission on Civil Rights

The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights is hosting a free virtual Fair Housing Forum with many exciting sessions across April 27 and 28. Be sure to follow the registration links below to save your spot for any and all sessions you wish to join! This Forum is a partnership between the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) made possible by HUD's generous partnership grant.​

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

“Fair Housing Legal Update”
10am to 1pm
Presented by Glendora C. Hughes, MCCR General Counsel
Register at mccr.events/FairHousingForum1

The COVID- 19 pandemic has created severe housing related issues across the nation. Housing insecurity has increased exponentially and related issues such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, and bias are widespread. This interactive workshop will provide participants with information on legal protections and updates regarding impediments to fair housing as a result of the pandemic.

“Institutional Anti-Blackness and Housing Discrimination”
2pm to 4pm
Presented by Tiffany Lanoix, MA
Register at mccr.events/FairHousingForum2

In this two hour forum participants will learn about the ways that anti-blackness has been and continues to be institutionalized, specifically in the realm of housing. The initial presentation will last about 45 minutes followed by a 1 hour and 5 minute guided forum. This will include a 10 minute break in between.

The following topics will be addressed during the presentation and the guided forum:

  • Anti-blackness & Anti-racism
  • How anti-blackness is institutionalized
  • History of anti-blackness in housing
  • Contemporary issues of anti-blackness in housing
  • How anti-racism can be used as a tool to combat anti-blackness in housing

Western Maryland Regional Fair Housing Forum
6pm to 8pm
Moderated by MCCR's Western Maryland Advisory Council
Register at mccr.events/FairHousingForum3

This event brings together stakeholders in the Western Maryland Region from local nonprofits, fair housing agencies, property management companies, state and local governments, and other industry leaders for a panelist driven, facilitated focus groups to address barriers to fair Housing in Maryland.​

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Maryland Fair Housing Roundtable
10am to 1pm
Opening Remarks by Melody Taylor, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. Moderated by Cecilia Assam, MCCR Civil Rights Officer
Register at mccr.events/FairHousingForum4

This webinar style forum will bring stakeholders together to engage in meaningful dialogue regarding the state of fair housing in Maryland. Panelists from a wide variety of public, private and nonprofit entities specializing in fair housing enforcement, legal representation, advocacy, landlord/tenant affairs, government, property management and community relations will convene to:

  • Provide insight and awareness to fellow stakeholders on issues that impact he work of all sectors.
  • Engage in candid conversations about cross-sector challenges, difference and working relationships.
  • Develop strategies for working collectively to promote fairness, inclusion and equality.

“Structural Racism in Housing: A Closer Look at Prince George’s County”
2pm to 4pm
Presented by Kris Marsh, Ph.D.
Register at mccr.events/FairHousingForum5

This virtual housing forum will include three main approaches to understanding structural racism in housing:

  1. Lecture, interactive exercises, and discussions to establish understandings of structural racism in the housing market and the broader impact on life chances, inequality, and injustice;
  2. Review current quantitative and qualitative social science literature on housing discrimination and related outcomes with an emphasis in Prince George's County; and
  3. Discuss ways to overcome and promote fair housing for all.

The virtual fair housing forum will include the following topics:

  • What the social science literature has to say on structural racism and housing discrimination
  • Understanding diverse populations, structural racism and housing opportunities/outcome
  • How structural racism and discrimination impact housing opportunities and long term consequences/outcomes
  • How Prince George's County is an ideal case study for fair housing

The learning objectives for the virtual fair housing forum will include:

  • Participants will learn the definition of structural racism and its related concepts (focus on housing)
  • Participants will be able to identify the current and long-term consequences of housing discrimination
  • Participants will understand how structural racism in housing is measured, formed, and current literature in the topic.
  • Participants will develop strategies to overcome structural racism and promote fair housing for all
  • Participants will discover why Prince George's County is a unique case for understanding issues of structural racism and fair housing

BONUS EVENT - Know Your Rights: Fair Housing Act

Thursday, April 22, 2021 (TOMORROW!)
7pm to 8pm
Register at https://www.bcpl.info/events-and-programs/list.html#!/188891

Fair housing is the right of all people to buy, sell or rent residential property and to live where they choose. In this workshop, learn about the Fair Housing Act, which provides protection under the law against housing discrimination to all Marylanders, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, familial or marital status, national origin, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

This event is free and open to the public. Presented by the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights in partnership with the Baltimore County Public Library.

Registration closes one hour before the start of the program. A valid email address is needed at registration to send a Zoom link to the program 30 minutes before scheduled start.

Victim of Discrimination?

File a Complaint3

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

 

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April 13, 2021

A Covert Crisis Event Image

A Covert Crisis: Violence, Discrimination, and
Civil Rights Issues facing Asian Americans

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
12pm to 2pm
Register at mccr.events/ACovertCrisis
This event is free and open to the public

This educational presentation and Q&A session will provide participants with information on:

  1. Histories of oppression and subjugation of Asian Americans.
  2. The intersection of race and gender as it pertains to stereotypical perceptions of Asian women and resultant fetishization and violence.
  3. Strategies for equity and progress at the institutional level (employment, housing, and public spaces) and in society.

This program is presented by the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) and supported by the Committee Opposed to Violence and Extremism (COVE).

About the Presenter: Janet Namkung (She/They)

Janet Namkung

Janet is an active leader who is passionate about social and restorative justice through capacity-building. During the day, you can find them at the Management Center (TMC) helping social justice leaders learn how to build and run organizations effectively, equitably, and sustainably. Outside of TMC, Janet volunteers with the Total Liberation Collective (TLC) - dedicated to the abolition of all structures of oppression that impede total liberation by focusing on mutual aid and education. They also lead a creative and mental health nonprofit called Asians* in Focus, which they co-founded with a group of passionate Asian American Womxn.

Janet began their career in nonprofits advocating for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Janet worked on national issues such as immigration, civic engagement, the census, education, and mental health. Janet previously worked with OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Council of Korean Americans, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Janet served as a Commissioner on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Community Development, on the Board of Directors of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, and as Chair of the DC Chapter of Service Year & AmeriCorps Alums. Janet received a B.A. in Psychology from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Janet is a proud New Yorker, daughter of Korean American immigrants, and a lover of food vacations. Janet currently lives in D.C. with their partner, Jae, and their 3-legged hamster, Ssamjang.

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STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION PASSES IMPROTANT FAIR HOUSING AND TENANT PROTECTION BILLS - BUT NOT EVICTION PREVENTION

Fair Housing and tenant protections were among a number of bills passed by the state legislature during 2021. The most relevant for Fair Housing issues are:

1. Maryland DHCD Added Fair Housing Work - HB90/SB687, legislation, sponsored by Del. Brooke Lierman and Sen. Will Smith, requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to demonstrate actions to increase fair housing in their counties and support nonprofit and other organizations devoted to fair housing. Specifically, this bill: (a) requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to administer its programs and activities to “affirmatively further fair housing;” (b) establishes that local jurisdictions have a duty to affirmatively further fair housing; (c) requires DHCD to submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly on, among other things, efforts by specified units of State and local government to promote fair housing, as specified; and (d) establishes provisions relating to the inclusion of assessments of fair housing in local comprehensive plans. The Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and DHCD must provide specified technical assistance upon request. Read the General Assembly legislation summary.

2. Tenant Screening Report Instead of Credit CheckHB861/SB691 sponsored by Del. Julie Palakovich-Carr and Sen. Shelly Hettleman assists low-income tenants by establishing a reusable tenant screening report which a prospective tenant pays for and provide to landlords that are willing to accept these reports in lieu of requiring prospective renters to pay multiple times for a credit check by a landlord. The reusable tenant screening report will save struggling tenants hundreds of dollars. Read the legislative summary.

3. Right to Attorney in Eviction CasesHB18/SB154 will help prevent disruptive displacement of residents from their homes by ensuring that low-income tenants have the right to an attorney in eviction cases. Legal representation matters; when renters have counsel it results in less evictions because people with legitimate defenses are more successful in asserting them. This legislation, sponsored by Del. Wanika Fisher and Sen. Shelly Hettleman, will save many families from losing their homes. Read the legislative summary.

4. Health Equity Resource Communities - HB463 which decreases health inequities through the creation and funding of Health Equity Resource Communities. This requires the Community Health Resources Commission to designate certain areas as Health Equity Resource Communities to target State resources toward reducing health disparities, improving health outcomes and access to primary care, and reducing health care costs.

5. Elimination of Imprisonment for License Revocation - SB20 eliminates imprisonment as a possible penalty for a person convicted of displaying a canceled, revoked, or suspended license and reduces the points assessed for these violations.

6. The Transit Safety and Investment Act - (HB114/SB199) increases economic mobility by ensuring access to safe and reliable public transportation. This bill: (a) alters and extends (by seven years) provisions of the Maryland Metro/Transit Funding Act (Chapters 351 and 352 of 2018) that require increased operating and capital spending for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA); (b) establishes minimum required funding levels for MTA’s operating and capital spending, as specified; (c) the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) must conduct a Western Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) rail extension study, as specified; (d) establishes a Purple Line Construction Zone Grant Program in the Department of Commerce. 

Unfortunately, some bills that were important to Fair Housing did not pass, such as HB26 which would expand protections for student borrowers with private loans and HB848 which would end debtors prisons for consumer debts in Maryland. Critically, the legislature did not pass important anti-eviction measures such as HB52/SB454 which would advance effective methods of diverting evictions, HB31 which would prevent serial eviction filings, and HB1312/SB910 would end pandemic related evictions.

*****

Source: Maryland Coalition for Consumer Rights, 2021 Legislative Wrap-Up, April 12, 2021.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

 HUD COMMEMORATES NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH 2021

 

Click here to watch Secretary Fudge’s video statement on Fair Housing Month.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today kicked off Fair Housing Month 2021. This year’s Fair Housing Month theme, Fair Housing: More Than Just Words, reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing equity in housing and the importance of increasing public awareness of everyone’s right to fair housing. 

“Fair Housing Month is a time to recommit to our nation’s obligation to ensure that everyone has equal access to safe, affordable housing,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Unfortunately, housing discrimination still exists, from individuals and families being denied a place to call home because of the color of their skin or where they come from, to landlords refusing to allow persons with disabilities to keep assistance animals, to individuals being denied a place to live because of who they love. In this moment of unprecedented crisis, fair housing is more important than ever. 53 years after the Fair Housing Act was signed, our journey to justice in housing continues.”

Each April, HUD, local communities, fair housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country commemorate Fair Housing Month by hosting an array of activities that highlight HUD's fair housing enforcement efforts, enhance Americans’ awareness of their fair housing rights, and emphasize the importance of ending housing discrimination.

Secretary Fudge will commemorate Fair Housing Month with a virtual celebration on April 7th at 2 p.m. Eastern time that will also feature the Justice Department’s Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Pamela Karlan; HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Jeanine Worden; and HUD Senior Advisor Alanna McCargo.  

In addition to highlighting HUD’s enforcement activities, a central focus of this year’s commemoration with the Biden-Harris Administration’s pledge to end housing discrimination, provide redress to those who have experienced housing discrimination, to eliminate racial bias and other forms of discrimination in all stages of home-buying and renting, and to secure equal access to housing opportunity for all.

Last year, HUD and its Fair Housing Assistance Program partner agencies received more than 7,700 complaints alleging discrimination based on one or more of the Fair Housing Act's seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability. During that period, the categories with the highest number of complaints were disability and race, respectively. HUD also received complaints that alleged lending discrimination as well as numerous complaints from women who faced unfair treatment, including sexual harassment.

"Although the Fair Housing Act became law in 1968, we still have major challenges ahead of us,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “This April, on the 53rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, HUD is renewing its commitment to level the playing field so every person has the same opportunity to live where they choose and benefit from all of the opportunities this nation offers.”

For a listing of HUD Fair Housing Month events and activities, go to: www.hud.gov/FHM2021.

People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to hud.gov/fair housing.

HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also connect with HUD on social media  or sign up for news alerts on HUD's Email List.

You can follow Secretary Fudge on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

*****

Source: HUD press release, April 1, 2021.

Friday, April 2, 2021

MARYLAND ENFORCEMENT DATA SHOWS INCREASE IN HOUSING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS

The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) recently released their annual report detailing their fair housing enforcement efforts. Read the 2020 MCCR Annual Report. MCCR reports that in 2020, they received 128 complaints of housing discrimination from Marylanders. This is a 37.6% increase from the 93 in 2019. Some 82.0% of these complaints (or 105) were from people who have a disability. A total of 53 of the complaints were based on race, with 91% of those from Black Marylanders. 

The National Fair Housing Alliance has also released a report on U.S. Fair Housing Trends in 2020. They found that there were 28,880 fair housing complaints in the U.S. in 2019, a slight decrease. There were 17,010  complaint cases (58.9%) that involved discrimination against a person with a disability, now probably "the easiest to detect, as it most often takes place as an overt denial of a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification to the housing unit. The second most reported type of housing was discrimination on the basis of race with 4,757 (16.5%) cases, followed by familial status as the basis for discrimination in 2,228 (7.7%) cases; sex discrimination with 1,948 complaints (6.8%); national origin 1,730 (6.0%) cases; color with 646 (2.2%) cases; and religion the basis of 328 (1.1%) cases.

The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition observes that "while Maryland makes up 1.84% of the US population, our fair housing complaints are just 0.32% of the complaints made nationwide. This low number of complaints, taken in concert with the pervasive segregation of housing in the Baltimore region and ample anecdotal evidence of discrimination, suggests that Marylanders are not reporting discrimination when they experience it."

*****

Sources:

Maryland Commission on Civil Rights 2020 Annual Report. 

National Fair Housing Alliance report on U.S. Fair Housing Trends in 2020.

Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition Member Newsletter, April 2, 2021.