We all have the right to safe, affordable housing in the neighborhood of our choice; however, because we are not aware of the laws, and the tools that are available to enforce the laws, not all of us are able to exercise this right as we should. In an effort to promote awareness of fair-housing rights and responsibilities, the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission is actively engaged in reaching out to the community through a number of different avenues. I will be presenting information and observations gathered from my experiences as an intern with the Commission. I spent a month working primarily with a fair-housing specialist, and I will discuss some of the new initiatives being developed, including phone-testing, special case investigation and speaking within the community. We will take a look at a booklet devoted to housing-related issues that was produced in cooperation with many different agencies and organizations. We will also take a look at the particular role played by the Commission in enforcing the laws and in supporting housing rights for everyone.
Without knowledge of the laws that affect us and the rights and responsibilities that we have, we cannot realize the goal of providing decent living conditions for every member of our communities. Resources are available for us, but we need to know where to look. The Civil Rights Commission is taking vital steps towards promoting awareness of these resources, but it is up to us to take advantage of them.
Kara Klatt, ’98
Sponsor: Helen Damon-Moore