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RISMEDIA, April 24, 2008-In honor of Fair Housing Month, the Chicago Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.), together with the Realtor Partnership in Fair Housing, presented its annual fair housing event, consisting of a luncheon and mock trials to help educate Realtors about how to handle possible illegal actions they may encounter related to the Fair Housing Act.

The event took place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 23, 2008, at Abbington Distinctive Banquets located in Glen Ellyn, and celebrated and recognized the 40th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status and national origin.

Keynote speaker Kim Kendrick, assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), addressed Realtors, government and housing officials, and fair housing advocates from the Chicagoland area. Kendrick:

– Provided examples of punitive damages specific to cases involving the sales market,
– Explored how the laws and policies HUD enforces have evolved over time, and
– Shared a heartfelt story about how towns have collaborated with one another and their residents to overcome discriminatory attitudes and practices.

“Although 40 years have passed since the enactment of the Fair Housing Act, housing discrimination remains a significant challenge that requires the cooperation of Realtors housing providers, and others to overcome,” said Kendrick. “I commend the Realtor Partnership in Fair Housing for hosting this event to educate their members on fair housing.”

Attendees also had the opportunity to learn from four mock fair housing trials. Professor F. Willis Caruso, clinical director of the fair housing legal clinic at John Marshall Law School, served as the judge for the mock trials.

“I have been involved in more than 2,000 fair housing cases and I’d like to see discrimination go away for good,” said Professor Caruso. “If we can eliminate all forms of discrimination in housing, the market place will result in healthy, integrated communities.”

The mock trials addressed potential problem-raising situations that Realtors may face in relation to fair housing, such as how to answer questions about the demographics of a community.

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