Online Program

Addressing Housing Discrimination by Strengthening Massachusetts Fair Housing Laws through legislation

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 :

William Berman, JD, Housing Discrimination and Testing Program, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA
Janine Anzalota, MSW, LICSW, MPH, City of Boston Office of Fair Housing and Equity, Boston, MA
More than 80% of Boston's homes were built before 1978 and often contain lead-based paint. 25% of housing discrimination cases the City of Boston’s Office of Fair Housing and Equity (FHE) receive are familial status discrimination due to the presence of lead paint.  Suffolk University Law School’s Housing Discrimination Testing program found 93% of advertisements tested as facially discriminatory against families. 

Enforcement of fair housing laws improves housing opportunities for Boston residents. FHE has proposed MA state legislation that would make fair housing training a continuing education requirement for real estate agents and brokers. Requiring Education of realtors and brokers is an important tool in ensuring realtors understand fair housing laws and classes protected from housing discrimination. This training requirement includes reciprocity applicants from other states as and includes MA state lead law and its connection to familial status discrimination. Training will increase awareness of fair housing laws and reduce incidents of housing discrimination.

Public education that lead in housing is a fair housing issue as well as a public health issue adversely affecting children remain under the radar of public health. Realtor education and public education are helpful, but more policy change is needed to protect family choice in housing and children’s health. In May 2012, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended the clinical lead poisoning level be dropped to 5µg/dL. Although the CDC recommends 5 as the level of poisoning for children under 6, MA level of poisoning remains at 25 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL).

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the importance local and state policy change in reducing housing discrimination and improving the health outcomes of children exposed to lead paint in housing. Explain the importance of public education of families with children in raising the status of discrimination in housing and childhood hood lead exposure. Analyze how state and local laws can be strengthened to reduce housing discrimination and reduce childhood lead paint exposure and related adverse health outcomes.

Keyword(s): Community Health Planning, Health Promotion and Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the director of Suffolk Law School's Housing Discrimination and Testing Program. I oversee testing of facially discriminatory housing advertisements displaying familial status discrimination due to the presence of lead paint.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.