Agenda Keynote and Panelists
The 19th Annual Fair Housing Community Conference will be held virtually Friday, April 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Hosted in partnership with the Raleigh Fair Housing Hearing Board and the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina, the conference focuses on issues related to housing and discrimination. The theme for this year's event is "Place Matters/Race Matters: Appraisals, Opportunity, and Fair Housing Rights."
The event is free, and the public is invited to attend. Click here to register via Zoom!
9:00 – 9:10: Welcome
- Sondra Collins, Board Chair, Fair Housing Hearing Board, City of Raleigh
- Jack Holtzman, Director, Fair Housing Project, Legal Aid of North Carolina
9:10 - 10:25: "Discrimination and Home Sales"
- Moderator: Tolu Adewale, Raleigh Fair Housing Hearing Board
- Alexandra Sirota, Executive Director, NC Budget & Tax Center
- Amy Nelson, Executive Directo., Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI)
10:25 - 10:35: Break
10:35 – 11:50: "Where You Live Matters: Fair Housing and the Effects of Segregation"
- Moderator: Chalisa Williams, Raleigh Fair Housing Hearing Board
- Jesus Hernandez, PhD., Sacramento, CA
- Josie Williams, Executive Directo, Greensboro Housing Coalition
11:50 – 12:10: Awards
- Stella J. Adams Fair Housing Advocacy Award, presented by Legal Aid
- Jeff Dillman Fair Housing Award
12:10 – 12:20: Break
12:20 – 12:50: Keynote Speaker
- Introduction: George Hausen, Executive Director, Legal Aid of NC
- Demetria McCain, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
12:50 – 1:00: Closing remarks
- Lauren Brasil, Supervising Attorney, Fair Housing Project, LANC
This conference is funded in part through a grant under the Fair Housing Initiatives Program with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Keynote and Panelists
Keynote Speaker: Demetria L. McCain
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.
Jesus Hernandez, PhD.
The research of urban sociologist Dr. Jesus Hernandez is dedicated to understanding social problems that affect community cohesion, neighborhood development, and quality of life. His research approach prioritizes the neighborhood as an important unit of analysis and emphasizes neighborhood-scale economic development and revitalization in ways that directly address racial/spatial wealth gaps and disparate public investment patterns. His current research centers on using neighborhood-based energy and housing planning to implement climate change and sustainable community strategies in neighborhoods experiencing long-term divestment, health disparities, racial segregation, and poverty.
In addition to several research and academic publications on the effects of public policy on race and neighborhood stability, he is a frequent speaker at fair housing, legal, academic conferences, and university classrooms across the country. He sits on the board of directors for The Woodstock Institute in Chicago, which promotes fair housing and lending protections, The Planning and Conservation League, an environmental justice advocacy group, and The Colley Coalition for Civil Rights in Sacramento.
Amy Nelson is the Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI). The mission of the FHCCI is to ensure equal housing opportunities by eliminating housing discrimination through advocacy, enforcement, education and outreach. The FHCCI has a service area of 24 counties in Central Indiana reaching a population of over 2.5 million. The FHCCI works to prevent housing discrimination through its Advocacy, Education, Inclusive Communities, and Public Policy Programs. It conducts investigations to uncover violations of fair housing laws and files enforcement actions to stop identified discriminatory practices; offers a diverse array of education programs to build knowledge of fair housing laws, and works to strengthen fair housing policies at the local, state, and federal levels.
Alexandra Forter Sirota
Alexandra Forter Sirota serves as Executive Director for the NC Budget & Tax Center. She leads the organization’s work to ensure every person can reach their full potential and achieve well-being through the support of trustworthy, anti-racist institutions and systems that we all participate in building.
Josie Williams is the Executive Director of the Greensboro Housing Coalition (GHC), a nonprofit advocacy and referral agency that works to provide safe, healthy, and affordable housing for the Greensboro area. GHC has four primary departments: Homeless Prevention, Foreclosure Prevention, Healthy Homes, and Community Engagement.