INCLUSION, COMMUNITY AND EQUITY: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in an Adverse Climate

Do you work in housing in the North Bay or in the Bay Area?  You may be interested in this conference happening on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, sponsored by Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California.

Editor’s note: CRC’s Kevin Stein will be speaking on a panel focused on access to credit, through a Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing lens.

The schedule for the conference is included below, if you’re interested in registering, visit this link. 


Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in an Adverse Climate

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

2017 Conference Agenda

9:00-9:30: Check in / Coffee

9:30-9:45: Welcome

  • Caroline Peattie, Executive Director – Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California
  • Supervisor Judy Arnold

9:45-10:45: Keynote Address: John P. Relman, Managing Partner – Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC

Why Fair Housing Cannot Wait: The Path Forward in an Uncertain Time

10:45-11:30:  Special Guest: James Perry, President, CEO – Winston-Salem Urban League

Mr. Perry will discuss the history of segregation and how it has impacted opportunities for fair and affordable housing, employment, education, transportation, health, and other factors in affirmatively furthering fair housing.

11:30-12:00: Norman Lear’s “America Divided” – What Can Testing Do?

Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California will present the importance of a robust testing program, showing a brief segment of Norman Lear’s “America Divided,” which features the Fair Housing Justice Center’s testing program in New York, capturing housing discrimination on video during an undercover investigation.

12:00-1:00: Working Lunch – Facilitated Discussions

  • Discussion Group 1: Facilitated by Laura Eberly, Community Organizer – YWCA

Session for practitioners seeking concrete tools to bridge the gap between diversity and true inclusion. Ms. Eberly will facilitate a discussion using exercises and insights from YWCA’s Inclusion Inventory for those who value diversity and hope to move our equity efforts – at the personal and organizational and systems levels – from conversation to effective action.

  • Discussion Group 2: Facilitated by David Levin, Managing Attorney – Legal Aid of Marin

Session for attorneys and advocates of follow-up activities to affirmatively further fair housing in the North Bay, for example:

  • Immigrant education and advocacy to address current challenges
  • Housing issues for immigrants and other protected groups
  • Education equity and other obstacles to opportunity

After a brief outline of certain ongoing issues, there will be an open discussion and request for ideas to address these issues.

1:00-2:30: Break-out Sessions

Session 1 Panel: Tenant Track

This session will examine strategies and successes related to local action and efforts around the Bay Area that advance tenant protections and affordable housing preservation/development that affirmatively furthers fair housing choice — what works, what it takes to break barriers, and what are the challenges to overcome.

  • Moderator: Linda Jackson, Program Director – Aging Action Initiative
  • Leah Simon-Weisberg, Managing Attorney – Oakland Centro Legal de la Raza and Tenants Rights Program (formerly Legal Director at Tenants Together)

While we are at 1960s segregation rates, there are tools available to reach equity. How does the current administration impact our efforts?

  • Davin Cardenas, Lead Organizer – North Bay Organizing Project

How does community organizing and advocacy expand tenant protections for the most vulnerable populations, and what are the greatest obstacles in creating change?

  • Margaret Van Vliet , Executive Director – Sonoma County Community Development Commission

What can be done to expand the supply of affordable housing while promoting integration and expanding housing choice for people of color, families with children, and people with disabilities?

Session 2 Panel:  Real Estate/Homeownership Track

This session will focus on opening access to credit through the AFFH lens —focusing on current consumer protections and potential threats to protections currently in place: What can consumers and advocates do to be proactive in maintaining those protections?

  • Moderator: Laura Eberly, Community Organizer – YWCA

How do we build greater investment and financial equity for communities of color? Our responses to the housing crisis must address equity or else reinforce all the same discriminatory patterns we already have.

  • Kevin Stein, Associate Director – California Reinvestment Coalition

How will changes in the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data – particularly disaggregated race data change the way consumers and advocacy groups look at lending? What are some of the fair lending issues CRC has tracked most recently, and what are some tools to help open access to credit while protecting consumers from abuse?

  • Nikki Beasley, Executive Director – Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services

Bringing perspective from her 20 years in banking, Ms. Beasley will address the changing face of homeownership, the challenges of securing affordable housing for those who are low-income, and the importance of advocacy efforts to become embedded in local governments, as well as examining what we can proactively do now to address the wealth gap.

2:30: Break

2:45–4:00: Closing SessionThe Progress of Fair Housing and its Future in California

  • Moderator: Sarita Turner, Associate Director – PolicyLink
  • Lisa Bates, Policy Deputy Director – California Housing and Community Development

The state of California’s current and future efforts to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing.

  • James Perry, President, CEO – Winston-Salem Urban League

How the community can engage in the conversation about and impact the outcome of a jurisdiction’s priorities and policies, using the Assessment of Fair Housing as a tool.

  • Sam Tepperman-Gelfant, Senior Staff Attorney – Public Advocates

How California can strengthen the mandate to increase housing opportunity despite threats to HUD’s AFFH rule.

4:00: Conference ends

How Much Money Does Wall Street Spend on Lobbying and Campaign Contributions?


Political cartoon by Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal Constitution

A new report from Americans for Financial Reform provides a troubling window into the amount of cash pouring into Congress from Wall Street since the 2008 crisis -it’s over $2.7 million a day, and more than $3.7 million per member of Congress!

Wall Street Money in Washington,” is a 62-page examination of political spending, draws on a special data set compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics for AFR in order to provide a more precise look at financial industry spending than is otherwise possible.

Campaign Contributions: $1.2 billion. Individuals and entities associated with financial reported making $1,201,417,199 in contributions to federal candidates for office during this election cycle. The financial sector’s contributions were almost twice that of any other specific business sector identified in the data. Of the $688,150,613 in party-coded contributions by PACs and individuals associated with finance, 55% went to Republicans and 45% went to Democrats.

Five U.S. Senators and two House members were among the biggest Congressional recipients of financial sector contributions. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) topped this list with $8,687,969. The other senators were Ted Cruz (R-TX), with $5,482,011; Charles Schumer (D-NY), with $5,345,563; Rob Portman (R-OH), with $4,158,259; Pat Toomey (R-PA). Members of the House of Representatives were led by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), with $5,727,069; and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), with $3,397,980.

Lobbying: $898 million. The financial industry reported spending a total of $897,949,264 on lobbying in 2015 and 2016. This puts the sector in – close – third place, behind the Health sector, which spent $1,022,907,176, and a category of “Miscellaneous Business,” a sector that that itself probably includes some Wall Street lobbying by business groups with a broader focus than only finance.

Since 2008, the financial services industry has spent more money on contributions and lobbying than it did before the crisis, and the total in this cycle is the highest yet. 

“The entire apparatus of government operates in an environment flooded with millions of dollars in Wall Street cash on a daily basis,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. “If you want to understand why finance too often hurts consumers, investors and businesses far from Wall Street, take a look at these numbers.”

You can read the whole report on the Americans for Financial Reform website. 


Financial Resources for Immigrants and Low Income Families

It’s unfortunate, but true: new federal actions are threatening the economic security of low-income families across the country.

Several California community organizations responded to this new threat by hosting an event last week for nonprofits that serve low-income families.  Speakers focused on how front-line staff members at nonprofits can work with families to connect them to money and other resources to help prepare for future emergencies- or to meet present needs.

Tickets for the event, held at the Alameda County Social Services Agency, were sold out.

Experts from the National Immigration Law Center, International Rescue Committee and Bay Area Legal Aid answered questions about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the new California Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Care Tax Credit, and other safety net benefits.


Participants learned how to help their clients use and apply for ITINs (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) to receive tax refunds, about the many different public benefits and their eligibility requirements

In addition, at another panel, representatives from banks discussed account options for families to receive refunds and other cash assistance safely- without expensive check cashing or overdraft fees.

The California Reinvestment Coalition partnered with the United Ways of California, Alameda County Community Asset Network, and the Alameda County Social Services Agency to hold the event. CRC is grateful to our co-sponsors, the presenters, Y & H Soda Foundation which helped fund the event, and the attendees who made the event a success.