FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wanda Seeney (573) 751-3247
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 5, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo—To recognize National Fair Housing Month, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) kicks off a new year-long Missouri public awareness campaign, the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project, to educate the 150,000 citizens and housing industry professionals in Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Scott, and Stoddard counties about their rights and obligations under fair housing laws.
“A lack of information leaves our citizens vulnerable to abuse,” said Alisa Warren, Executive Director of MCHR. “But housing consumers empowered by knowledge will not lock themselves into the chains of unfair loans or rental agreements. The Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project aims to increase understanding of fair housing by both the public and industry professionals in an area of the state with little-to-no existing educational or counseling services relating to housing.”
The Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project is made possible through a $97,000 Education and Outreach Initiative grant awarded to the MCHR by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The project rolls out with a poster and journalism contest open to students in grades 1 through 12 enrolled in a Lincoln University Extension youth program located in the targeted six-county region. Students are invited to submit an essay or poster expressing the theme, “Live the Dream: Fair Housing.” Winners will be honored at a luncheon in May 2010, where they will receive cash prizes in the amounts of $250 (first place), $125 (second place), and $50 (third place).
Other components of the project include Lunch & Learn events for housing industry professionals and free public informational sessions about discrimination in housing and predatory lending. Further, the grant monies allow MCHR to provide scholarships to 150 Missourians to attend homebuyer education classes designed to assist home purchasers in assessing their own financial readiness and to guide them away from potential home-loan pitfalls such as exorbitant fees, excessive penalties, and inflated or exploding adjustable interest rates.
The MCHR is an independent commission housed in the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. It is responsible for enforcing the Missouri Human Rights Act which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation because of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), disability and age (in employment only), and familial status (in housing only). .
For more information about your rights, the MCHR complaint process, or free public informational sessions, visit www.labor.mo.gov/MOHumanRights or call 573-751-3325. To be eligible for consideration for the poster and journalism contest, submissions must be delivered and in the possession of the Lincoln University Extension office, 201 North Stoddard, Sikeston, Missouri, 63801, by close of business, April 28, 2010. For additional information about the contest, contact Lincoln University Extension office 573- 471-3059 or the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.
Information and Planning · 421 East Dunklin
· P.O. Box 504 · Jefferson City, MO
573-751-7500 · 573-751-6552 (Fax)
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