Housing, Education and Economic Development (HEED) has been supporting fair housing and fair lending in Mississippi for a long time. HUD's Fair Housing Director Marilyn Moore-Lemons and Jerrie Magruder, HUD's Field Office Director for Mississippi, were proud to be among the speakers at HEED's 25th Annual Fair Housing, Fair Lending Conference that celebrated with HUD's theme "Fair Housing Is Your Right: Use It!".
"Let's Talk Fair Housing" set the tone for the day. This very much welcomed presentation began with an overview of Fair Housing and a video presentation entitled, A Matter of Place video with recent decisions that HUD negotiated or prevailed upon through litigation. The HUD team also presented Charles Harris, Executive Director of HEED, a Certificate of Recognition for its 25 years of dedication to fair housing. As part of the highlighted topics, the presenters emphasized looking at fair housing through a regional community view. HUD's regional planning grants are a great example of grantees not only considering planning but also fair housing from a regional perspective.
Other speakers included representatives from the US Small Business Administration, US Justice Department, FDIC, state and nonprofit agencies, lenders and even a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee. John Taylor, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition said that you typically find more discrimination where there are no banks. When branches are closed, it is even harder to get business loans so job losses increase. He emphasized how banks are critical to the success of a neighborhood. Remember, all year long, "Fair Housing Is Your Right: Use It!"