COMMUNITY NEWS

Online workshop aims to address local COVID-19 housing challenges
Monday, July 27, 2020

Online workshop aims to address local COVID-19 housing challenges

Local governments partner to raise awareness of the Fair Housing Act and tenants’ rights

CABARRUS COUNTY, NC – The COVID-19 pandemic is causing local and federal housing officials to address a new set of challenges that affect vulnerable and high-risk populations. To help mitigate local challenges, Cabarrus County, the cities of Concord and Kannapolis, and Legal Aid of North Carolina are partnering to inform residents and housing providers about their rights and new regulations in a post-COVID era. They’re offering a free webinar on fair housing laws and tenants’ rights on Thursday, August 6, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tenants, housing advocates, property managers, landlords and people interested in fair housing are encouraged to participate.

While the webinar is free, advanced registration is required and available up to the start of the webinar. Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7145122845004282383.

During the webinar, presenters Jeff Dillman of the Fair Housing Project; Heather Seals Blankert of Legal Aid Concord Office; and community development staff from Cabarrus County, and the cities of Concord and Kannapolis will discuss:

  • COVID-19
  • Fair Housing Act protected classes
  • North Carolina eviction processes
  • CARES Act tenant protections
  • How to file a fair housing complaint

Earlier this year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released a statement on fair housing and COVID-19.

The statement reads, “During this national emergency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wants to remind housing providers and the public at large of important federal fair housing laws that protect persons from discrimination, including harassment and intimidation, in housing and related services on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability. The Fair Housing Act and other federal, state, and local laws collectively prohibit discrimination in nearly all housing transactions and residential settings across the nation, including rental housing, nursing homes, permanent shelters, and other places where people live and receive services together. Now, as always, HUD is here to enforce federal fair housing laws and to ensure that housing and services are available free from discrimination — the fears and speculations that have surfaced since the pandemic began.”

Housing discrimination isn’t always obvious. It can include steering, harassment, lack of accessibility or reasonable accommodations, rules against children, variables in the conditions of housing and mortgage lending discrimination.

Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint of discrimination by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or visiting How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website. Materials and assistance are available for persons with limited English proficiency. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may contact the Department using the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

Locally, direct questions to City of Concord Planner Alicia Broadway (broadwaya@concordnc.gov or 704-920-5137) and City of Kannapolis Community Development Program Administrator Sherry Gordon (sgordon@kannapolisnc.gov, or 704-920-4332).

The webinar is funded in part through a grant under the Fair Housing Initiatives Program with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. To learn more, visit concordnc.gov, kannapolisnc.gov or cabarruscounty.us.