The Consumer Protection Division of the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office (CAO) is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 with several activities in April.

First, the CAO is co-sponsoring the workshop Fair Housing Issues in Rental Housing on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 from 9 am to 12 pm at the Santa Monica Main Library. The co-sponsors include:

  • Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR)
  • Santa Monica Rent Control Board
  • Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA)
  • Action Apartment Association

The presenters include Chancela Al-Mansour, Executive Director of the Southern California Housing Rights Center; Jessica Weisman, Partner at the Law Offices of Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP; Denise McGranahan, Senior Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles; and Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades and Consumer Specialist Andrea Cavanaugh from the CAO.

Along with an overview of all fair housing law, immigration-related issues in fair housing will be one of the new topics covered in the workshop.

All owners, property managers, attorneys, social-service providers, and tenants are invited to attend, free of charge. A continental breakfast will be provided and parking at the library will be validated.

Pre-registration is required – please reserve your seat here. Space is limited so please register early. Online registration ends on April 20, 2018.

Second, the City Attorney’s Office is hosting its popular annual Santa Monica Student Fair Housing Poster Contest. More than 500 elementary and junior high students from Santa Monica participated in the contest this year, creating dynamic posters that feature the 2018 theme 50 Years of Fair Housing For All. A recent panel of judges had the tough but enjoyable task of selecting nine finalists.

The finalists’ posters will be on display in the lobby of City Hall during the week of April 23. Four of the posters will also be published as calendars for 2019 and will be part of the City’s fair housing newspaper ad campaign. On Monday, April 23, the City hosts the People’s Choice Award in which students, teachers, parents and general public are welcome to come view the nine posters from 9 a.m. to noon and 3-5 p.m in City Hall, and cast their votes.

In addition to these events, the CAO has helped produce two new fair housing videos that are now available on YouTube:

  • Follow John To Learn About Fair Housing: This unique animation project is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the CAO, IdeaRocket, and Peter Riedle, a young artist who as a seventh grader last year at St. Anne’s School submitted a poster to the poster contest. The sixty-second video brings to life the characters depicted in the poster, including John the wheelchair user, his friends, family and landlord. Follow John To Learn About Fair Housing can be viewed here.
  • The Past, Present and Future of Fair Housing: A Symposium Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968: The City’s symposium on January 18, 2018 featured a blockbuster panel of three speakers, including U.S. Senator (ret.) Fred Harris, the last living member of the 1967-68 Kerner Commission who voted for the Fair Housing Act of 1968; Chancela Al-Mansour, Executive Director of the Housing Rights Center; and Director Kevin Kish, Department of Fair Employment & Housing. The event was filmed and edited by Santa Monica CityTV, and the production has been viewed here over 10,000 times on YouTube.

“Working with the co-sponsors, speakers, teachers and students on these 50th anniversary projects has been one of my favorite experiences at City Hall,” said Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades. “It’s a tribute to both the Fair Housing Act and to our community that so many different and diverse groups and people came together to make the projects possible.”

Gary Rhoades, Deputy City Attorney