On Friday, April 28th Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance (GBLA) will be holding its 10th annual Fair Housing Conference.
The conference will be held virtually from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with guest spears addressing the topics of the conference. According to Kassie Mullican, the marketing and communications coordinator for GBLA, the three main topics of this year’s conference will be housing vouchers, emotional support animals, and the historical context of housing discrimination in Kern County including redlining.
“Our mission with it is to inform the community about important information regarding housing discrimination. We try to provide a variety of topics that not only inform residents of what their rights are in certain capacities but also bring to light issues in regard to discrimination and what it looks like in housing.”
Along with this conference, GBLA has the Fair Housing Law Project where they investigate claims of discrimination.
“If we find those claims to be valid then we will go into active enforcement. That can include everything from educating landlords and tenets to bringing on litigation cases or reporting to either the civil rights department,” said Mullican.
Mullican explained that in order for change to happen there needs to be education and cases of discrimination need to be reported.
“We take the stance that by educating the community on fair housing discrimination we are being proactive versus reactive,” said Mullican.
Bakersfield has a history of redlining which is certain groups not being allowed to buy homes within certain parts of the city. Redlining was a form of de facto segregation within the housing and Donato Cruz will be speaking on this at the conference.
According to Mullican, Cruz saw this happening growing up in Bakersfield and did his master’s thesis on the topic so he will address the history of redlining and the implications is has today.
“The goal of that is to just show that redlining wasn’t just something that happened in bigger cities like Los Angles or Memphis or New York and places like that,” said Mullican. “Redlining really was a nationwide situation and in a sense, we can almost still see it occurring in communities today.”
A speaker from Housing and Urban Development to speak about rights and reasonable accommodations for people who need emotional support animals.
Housing vouchers will be addressed to discuss sources of income discrimination and they will have someone from the housing authority explain their housing vouchers and an attorney will speak about housing voucher discrimination law.
Mullican hopes that everyone who attends the conference understands fair housing discrimination and is able to apply the information to their lives or someone they know.
You can register here for the free webinar.