The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission will host its 12th Annual FREE Fair Housing/Fair Lending Conference, “Opening New Doors to Civil Rights” to commemorate National Fair Housing Month, April 3-5, 2013, in Little Rock, Arkansas
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Little Rock, AR – The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission (AFHC) will host its 12th Annual Fair Housing/Fair Lending Conference: “Opening New Doors to Civil Rights” on April 3-5, 2013, at the Crown Plaza, 201 S. Shackelford Road, Little Rock, AR 72001.
This free conference will include discussions on: the mortgage crisis; how to navigate the foreclosure process; what processes the state is implementing to assist those facing foreclosure; the Arkansas Landlord-Tenant Law Commission Recommendations; the need for additional civil rights enforcement in Arkansas; the disparate impact legal theory and its application in fair housing/fair lending law; issues in racial profiling; hate crimes in Arkansas; design and construction/ADA accessibility requirements and more.
Conference speakers will include both state and national fair housing/fair lending practitioners; community organizations; city, county and state officials; and state and national government enforcement agents and will focus on pertinent fair housing/fair lending issues affecting Arkansans and the nation.
Representative include those from: the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Southern Poverty Law Center; the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute; the William H. Bowen School of Law; Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas; the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Professionals; the Arkansas Development Finance Authority; the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations; the United States Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; the National Center of Lesbian Rights; the United States Department of Justice; Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (invited); Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (invited); numerous community activist groups; and county, city and state officials.
“This year’s conference, ‘Opening New Doors to Civil Rights’, will explore exactly what is a ‘civil right’ and will focus on the identification of community needs and the responsibilities of addressing societal ills and battling social injustice,” said Carol Johnson, Commission Executive Director. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we work together toward a common good – using every available resource to accomplish all that was intended to unite, empower, build and maintain equity for a quality of life for Arkansans for which we may be proud to have played a part in creating!”
Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about their fair housing/fair lending rights and responsibilities from providers and enforcement entities throughout the country.
The Commission will provide free continuing education credits to attorneys and real estate professionals during the conference which will begin with a VIP reception from 4-6 p.m. on April 3, 2013, and continuing from 8-5 on April 4-5, 2013, with lunch provided each day. This conference will kick-off the Commission’s civil rights focus group statewide campaign.
“Our annual conferences are our largest single annual outreach effort,” said Johnson. “We hope to attract Arkansans from around the state so that they can be informed of their housing rights and responsibilities.”
The Arkansas Fair Housing Act of 2001 (as amended) protects housing and lending rights for Arkansans throughout the state and allowed Arkansas to join the other states in enacting a fair housing law that is substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act – thereby providing substantially the same protections as the federal legislation.
With this legislation, the Arkansas General Assembly declared that, “[t]he opportunity to obtain housing and other real estate without discrimination because of religion, race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status…is recognized and declared to be a civil right.” Ark. Code Ann. § 16-123-203.
In seeking to protect the public’s access to fair housing, the Arkansas General Assembly further recognized that “the right to seek housing underlies the general public’s ability to secure health, safety, and welfare.” Ark. Code Ann. § 16-123-301.
The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission is a quasi-judicial regulatory enforcement agency that works with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to enforce federal and state fair housing laws which protect individuals and families from unfair housing practices in all housing-related transactions on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and family status.