April 11, 2012


MBHP takes proactive approach to fair housing

BOSTON- In April we celebrate Fair Housing Month in the U.S., presenting a valuable opportunity to
explore fair housing issues in Massachusetts, and what organizations like the Metropolitan Boston

Housing Partnership (MBHP) are doing to move the conversation forward.
MBHP takes a comprehensive, proactive approach to fair housing, as opposed to an enforcement model.

Started in 2008, MBHP’s Fair Housing Project (FHP) has been working towards reducing discriminatory
barriers through training, technical assistance and advocacy. In 2011, the FHP conducted 41 workshops
with a total of 869 attendees. These workshops were held for tenants, property owners, realtors, property
managers, service providers and municipalities. MBHP’s philosophy is simple. The more everyone knows
about fair housing rights and obligations, the more the discriminatory barriers to housing are lessened.
Education remains one of the fundamental ways to achieve the goal of MBHP’s tagline, “Everyone
Deserves a Place to Call Home.”

In order to educate both the private and public sector, MBHP’s Fair Housing Manager, Barbara Chandler
takes on a wide range of trainings, media appearances, and partnerships. Last year, Ms. Chandler worked
extensively with the City of Newton to analyze the state of accessibility for persons with disabilities in
that community. Ms. Chandler also helped produce and was featured in a four-part cable access series for
the Brookline Human Relations Commission to reach a wider audience of tenants, housing providers, and
persons with disabilities.

“By taking an education-based, proactive approach, MBHP’s Fair Housing Project aims to increase equal
access to housing opportunity” says Ms. Chandler, “Our trainings and technical assistance are an
incredibly useful resource for everyone, particularly property owners, tenants and other housing

While much of its work surrounds trainings and education, the FHP works on a smaller scale as well,
advocating for individuals and families experiencing housing discrimination. Ms. Chandler reports that
while MBHP is asked to assist members of all the fair housing protected classes, the greatest number are
from persons with disabilities, individuals with rental vouchers, and families with children, especially
those with children under the age of six due to issues of lead in the house.

Fair housing laws cover all housing-related activities which affect members of a protected class. Protected
classes are designated as groups of persons and their families who historically and systemically
experience discrimination in housing in Massachusetts. Those classes include race, religion, national
origin, gender, disability, familial status, age, marital status, sexual orientation, public assistance
(including rental vouchers), gender identity, genetic information, and military status.

April is designated Fair Housing Month because it commemorates Congress’ passage of the Fair Housing
Act in 1968.

MBHP is the state’s largest regional provider of rental housing voucher assistance. We serve homeless,
elderly, disabled, and low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Our region spans Boston and
29 surrounding communities: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Braintree Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge,
Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Newton, North Reading, Quincy,
Reading, Revere, Somerville, Stoneham, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wilmington, Winchester,
Winthrop and Woburn.

Our mission is to ensure that the region’s low- and moderate-income individuals and families have choice
and mobility in finding and retaining decent affordable housing; all of our programs and initiatives are
designed to encourage housing stability, increase economic self-sufficiency, and enhance quality of the
lives of those we serve. To achieve our mission and to promote efficient service delivery, we work
collaboratively with a broad array of service providers and neighborhood-based organizations.

We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home.

For more information, contact MBHP Communications Manager Christopher Blagg at (617) 425-6691, or
visit www.mbhp.org.