HUD, the Tacoma Human Rights and Human Services Department, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, the King County Office of Civil Rights Enforcement, and the Washington State Human Rights Commission are transcending geographic and political boundaries by cooperatively mobilizing resources to fight for fair housing in western Washington State. This "Best Practice" helps to send a clear message on fair housing, and maximizes the benefits for those who need fair housing assistance.
Together, these fair housing assistance program agencies are producing quarterly newsletters that share information regarding fair housing issues in Washington State. Each agency is responsible for covering certain topics or features in the newsletter, so the finished product serves as a synthesis of everything that is going on in the fair housing world on the local, state and federal levels.
"Our collaboration effort uses the team
approach to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our outreach, thereby
maximizing the benefit to people seeking fair housing assistance,"
said Marilyn Akita, an equal opportunity compliance specialist with the
Washington State Human Rights Commission.
The training also helps the group to gain a better understanding of pressing fair housing issues facing the community. Karen Peirolo, an equal opportunity compliance specialist with the Washington State Human Rights Commission, says, "In the process of conducting the training sessions, weve begun to spot certain trends or common concernssuch as questions about how to handle tenants problems with other tenants. Through our collaborative efforts, we can more effectively begin to address these issues and our newsletters provide a vehicle for us to share solutions with Washingtons housing industry. "
The greatest challenge the agencies met when establishing this collaborative effort was coordinating individual schedules, meetings and agendas. Consistently stressing their commitment to the common goal of eliminating housing discrimination through education has been key to the groups success. Peirolo says that the collaboration helps the partners handle hearing about and dealing with discrimination issues on a daily basis. She says that each agency supports the others, "providing the camaraderie and energy we simply wouldnt have on our own."
Content Archived: April 20, 2011