Canton to celebrate 40 years of Fair Housing with "Saving Our Homes" Event
City will educate public about foreclosures, free prevention services available
CANTON, Ohio – On Monday, April 28, the City of Canton will cap off its month-long celebration of the forty-year anniversary of the Fair Housing Act with a panel discussion about foreclosure prevention and mediation services offered by state and local governments. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from â€¨6 to 8 p.m. at the Edward “Peel” Coleman Community Center on Sherrick Road in Canton.
“This event isn’t just for people who are going through foreclosure,” said Corey Minor Smith, Director of Compliance for Canton Mayor William J. Healy II. “Our guest speakers will focus on a variety of issues related to the housing crisis, and will discuss several programs to help residents avoid losing their homes. This event is valuable for anyone who owns a home in the city of Canton.”
The forum, which is being conducted in partnership with the Greater Stark County Urban League and Fifth/Third Bank, will also provide information to foreclosed homeowners about the many mediation and debt resolution programs that are currently available from government and non-profit agencies.
“Many homeowners in Canton have found themselves on the losing end of the national housing crisis,” Minor Smith said. “Hopefully some will see a light at the end of the tunnel after attending this event.”
Monday’s discussion is the last event in a month-long celebration of Fair Housing by the City of Canton. It was 40 years ago that the Fair Housing Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and ever since, Canton has been at the forefront of the battle against housing discrimination.
In 2006, the city was given a “Substantially Equivalent” ranking by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), making it one of only six agencies within the state to have received such a distinction. Nationwide, 108 state and local jurisdictions participate in federal housing programs.
Canton’s program provides services to any resident who believes they may have been discriminated against based upon their membership in a protected class, which federal and state laws have defined to include: race, color, religion, gender, ancestry, disability, familial status, and national origin.
Recently, Ohio joined other states that offer protection to an individual’s military status with the passage of House Bill 372. Legislation is currently under consideration that would amend Canton’s ordinances to comply with the new regulation.
Residents who believe they are being discriminated against should contact the City of Canton’s Fair Housing Assistance Program by calling (330) 438-4133. There, they can receive information about illegal housing practices, file a complaint, and launch an official investigation into their discrimination claims. Any claims that are substantiated will be forwarded on to prosecutors for further action.