Speakers – NFHA In-Service for Operating Members: Enforcement Session

 

 

About the In-Service Program

This In-Service training on Thursday, Oct. 7th will feature panel discussions, case study review, and interactive exercises on investigating complaints of discrimination based on source of income.

Below, please find full biographies of our Speakers


Opening Remarks

Host:

Keenya Robertson has advocated for fair housing and other civil rights since 1994. She is President & CEO of Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. (HOPE, Inc.), a 29-year-old, private, Florida non-profit fair housing organization whose mission is to fight housing discrimination in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and to promote equal housing opportunities throughout Florida. She currently serves as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). Prior to her tenure at HOPE, Mrs. Robertson was a Staff Attorney for the Georgia Advocacy Office’s Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) Program where she represented the interests of persons with disabilities in guardianship, housing, employment, public accommodation, and entitlement issues. She also worked for Metro Fair Housing Services, Inc. in Atlanta as the Project Director & Attorney for their Southern Regional Fair Housing Organizing Project, creating four new private enforcement programs in previously underserved areas of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Georgia.

Mrs. Robertson is a graduate of Florida State University and the Louisiana State University Law Center

 

 


Keynote Address

Demetria McCain serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At FHEO, McCain assists HUD’s efforts to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities. 

McCain joins HUD following fifteen years of service, with five as president, at the Inclusive Communities Project (ICP), a Dallas, TX-based affordable fair housing nonprofit. Prior to becoming president, she oversaw operations, communications and ICP’s Mobility Assistance Program, a housing mobility program that helps housing choice voucher holders exercise their fair housing rights. Conceived by Demetria, ICP’s “Voices for Opportunity” initiative has provided advocacy training to low-income renters and neighborhood groups of color. 

Before joining ICP, McCain worked on USDA Section 515 rural multifamily housing matters at the National Housing Law. She was also a staff attorney for the Neighborhood Legal Services Program of Washington, D.C., assigned to the southeast office, where her portfolio primarily included landlord-tenant matters for low-income renters in private and public housing. She has taught, as an adjunct instructor, a Fair Housing and Homelessness course to undergraduate Coppin State University students. 

McCain brings dual vantage points to FHEO after having spent years assisting both housing choice voucher holders who sought low-poverty well-resourced housing options and neighborhood groups in underserved communities of color who sought more equitable distribution of resources and services.  McCain has sat on several local and national nonprofit boards and is a sought-after panelist and commentor on affordable fair housing and the impacts of residential segregation. She is a graduate of Howard University School of Law, New York University and Brooklyn College and a member of the Dallas Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Panel Discussion:

Host:

 

Please find Demetria’s full bio above.

Featuring:

Shivaughn Ferguson, Director of Fair Housing, at Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (HOME of VA) has worked in fair housing since 2012, and for about seven of those nine years, Ms. Ferguson worked at the National Fair Housing Alliance within the Fair Housing Enforcement and Investigations department.  Ms. Ferguson has coordinated over 500 tests, trained over 250 testers.  She has led the in-house disparate impact analysis for investigations within the rental, sales, and insurance markets.  She was the principal test coordinator for a systemic lending investigation that resulted in a $4 million partnership agreement between Wells Fargo and HOME of Virginia and has opened over 140,000 apartments as a result of the investigations she led during her tenure at the National Fair Housing Alliance.  Systemic investigations that Ms. Ferguson has coordinated have resulted in complaints filed in federal court, HUD, and state FHAPs.  Ms. Ferguson has briefed senate staffers, the DOJ, the CFPB, state OAG offices, and state consumer protection agencies on her work.  In addition to investigating discrimination under the Federal Fair Housing Act, she has developed investigations of discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, source of income, and age.  Using her experience in systemic investigations, Ms. Ferguson co-led an investigation that resulted in a report detailing discrimination at Virginia auto dealerships.   

Sara Pratt joined Relman Colfax in 2015 after her retirement from the federal government.   Her civil rights litigation practice with the firm focuses on the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, with an emphasis on challenges to institutional barriers to access to housing, lending, and insurance and to policies and practices that perpetuate segregation based on race, national origin, and disability. 

Sara has focused her practice on multiple national public policy issues, including a lawsuit against HUD for suspending implementation of a rule that increases access to rental housing for Section 8 voucher holders.  She has also settled many cases, including cases involving lending redlining, use of criminal history to exclude tenants, and disability rights/accessibility.   

Prior to joining the firm, Sara was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing Enforcement and Programs and Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  There, she directed civil rights enforcement for HUD nationally and led the development of regulations and policy guidance on numerous emerging civil rights issues, including the application of the Fair Housing Act to domestic violence in housing, criminal background criteria for housing, accessibility, the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, and zoning and land use issues.  Sara also served as Director of the Office of Investigations, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity from 1993 to 1999. Her fair housing work began in 1977 at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights where she was an attorney and investigator.   

Sara has received numerous awards and recognitions, including an Department-wide award from former HUD Secretary Julian Castro for Excellence in Performance for leading a team to address maternity and paternity leave discrimination by lenders.    Additional details available at https://www.relmanlaw.com/team-sara-pratt  

 

 

 

Jason Bailey serves as an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the historic civil rights organization founded by Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. As Assistant Counsel, Jason uses litigation and other advocacy to advance racial justice in the areas of economic justice, criminal justice and education.  

Prior to joining LDF, Jason served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Memphis, Tennessee. In that capacity, he prosecuted employment discrimination and retaliation cases to vindicate the rights of people of color, victims of sexual harassment, persons with disabilities and religious minorities. He previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Susan O. Hickey in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. 
 
Jason began his legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. While at the Lawyers’ Committee, Jason led efforts to combat housing discrimination in Arkansas and investigated debtors’ prison systems in Arkansas. Prior to law school, he served as an investigator at the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission.  

Jason graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he was a member of the Arkansas Law Review. Jason also holds a Master of Public Administration from Arkansas State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He is admitted to practice in Arkansas and the District of Columbia.

 


Small Group Case Studies

Hosts:

Justin Monteiro is the Associate Vice President of Enforcement at NFHA. He started his fair housing career in in 2007 with the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston (MA) and joined NFHA in 2011. Justin works with the enforcement staff to develop NFHA’s investigative docket, and with the legal division to pursue enforcement actions.  He leads NFHA’s mortgage lending investigations and was one of the architects of the investigation into auto dealerships NFHA conducted in 2016 – 17 that was the basis for its report, “Discrimination When Buying a Car”.  He also enjoys working closely with NFHA’s members partnering on investigations and providing  training, and is an instructor at NFHA’s Fair Housing School. Prior to his work in fair housing, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer for three years in Romania. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and (soon to be trilingual) son. 

 

Anita Schmaltz joined NFHA’s staff as one of its Senior Associate Director of Enforcement in July 2021.  Her prior fair housing experience includes serving as the Director of Enforcement at the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center in Dayton, Ohio.  During her tenure at MVFHC, she was involved in initiating several accessible design and construction investigations which ended up addressing fair housing accessibility guideline violations in multiple states.  She assisted with conducting the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing for Hamilton, OH and Dayton-Kettering-Montgomery County, OH.  Additionally, she has assisted with neighborhood stabilization through the Montgomery County Land Bank and served as a community organizer with mobile home park tenants through AmeriCorps VISTA.   

She holds a Bachelors of Art in International Studies from Elmira College and a Master of Public Administration from Wright State University. 

 


Closing Remarks

Ms. Lisa Rice is President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) where she leads NFHA to achieve the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. NFHA is the trade association for over 200 member organizations throughout the country. NFHA is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. Through its homeownership, credit access, tech equity, education, member services, public policy, community development, and enforcement initiatives, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.

Ms. Rice is a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Board of Directors, Center for Responsible Lending Board of Directors, JPMorgan Chase Consumer Advisory Council, Mortgage Bankers Association’s Consumer Advisory Council, Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Council, Quicken Loans Advisory Forum, Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Advisory Council, FinRegLab’s Machine Learning Advisory Board, and Berkeley’s The Terner Center Advisory Council.




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