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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2011
MCHR Brings Expanded Fair Housing Project to Missouri Bootheel
HUD Awards $124K Housing Education Grant for Southeast Communities
Jefferson City, MO – This month the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) launches a second year of the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project, a public awareness campaign aimed at educating citizens in the state’s southeastern region known as the Bootheel about the protections afforded them by state and federal fair housing laws and how these protections safeguard their homes and communities. The project promotes fair housing in Missouri through outreach activities with special emphasis on youth, persons with disabilities, minority populations, the elderly, veterans, and low-income citizens, among others. Continuation and expansion of the project is made possible through a $124,917 Education and Outreach Initiative grant awarded to MCHR by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“In recent years, the Missouri Bootheel has suffered from low housing stock, higher-than-average incidence of subprime lending, a spiking home foreclosure rate, and multiple felony convictions as a result of devastating mortgage scams,” said Alisa Warren, Executive Director of MCHR. “These conditions were strong indicators that our state’s southeastern communities would benefit from a greater understanding of the housing laws in place to protect them and a reminder about the state and federal agencies that exist to serve them.”
The 2011-2012 Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project will reach out to the citizens of Missouri’s southeastern region through activities, including a youth poster and journalism contest, educational sessions with local service organizations, media campaign, direct mail, and an analysis of home mortgage lending practices in the area.
This second year of the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project builds on the considerable impact made during the campaign’s inaugural year, which spanned March 15, 2010, through March 14, 2011. In that time, the project brought together more than 800 citizens, lenders, landlords, and realtors for free community workshops, seminars, and educational events throughout the Bootheel region; benefitted hundreds of persons who participated in either a homebuyer education course or one-on-one housing counseling; reached an audience of nearly 88,000 persons with a saturating communications effort detailing fair housing rights through newspaper, television, radio, podcast, website, newsletters, and printed materials; and created partnerships with 49 local organizations to effectively reach the multitude of diverse populations in the region, including business leaders, government officials, veterans, persons with disabilities, immigrants, and homeless individuals, with its message about fair housing laws.
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 or the MCHR complaint process, visit www.labor.mo.gov/MOHumanRights or call (573) 751-3325.
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