HOPE stands as a steadfast force in the fight for fair housing in South Florida.
Since its establishment in 1988 as Florida’s first Fair Housing Center, HOPE has been on a mission to promote equal housing opportunities and ensure fair housing laws are followed in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. In a recent interview, Keenya Robertson, President and CEO of HOPE Fair Housing Center, shared insights into their goals and the challenges they tackle to foster a more equitable housing landscape.
HOPE’s core mission is to put an end to housing discrimination in all forms – whether it’s based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic under the law. Robertson explains, “We envision a country free of housing discrimination where every individual, group, and community enjoys equal housing opportunity and access in an open, bias-free housing market.”
HOPE takes a well-rounded approach to tackle housing discrimination, with three major elements: education & outreach, private enforcement of fair housing laws, and intake/counseling/referral services. One of the major hurdles people encounter in South Florida is discrimination based on disabilities. Robertson highlights, “People with disabilities are often denied assistance animals or reasonable accommodations needed to use and enjoy their units or the common areas of a property.”
The shortage of affordable housing in the region has opened the door to violations of fair housing laws. Robertson points out, “While affordable housing is not the same as fair housing, the scarcity of affordable housing opportunities can lead to discriminatory practices by affordable housing providers and other housing providers offering such opportunities.”
To tackle these issues and make sure fair housing laws are followed, HOPE conducts testing for violations in which they gather information about housing providers’ policies, practices, and potential fair housing violations.
HOPE places great importance on educational outreach to spread awareness about fair housing rights and responsibilities. This is done through workshops, presentations, and digital campaigns to ensure that members of protected classes fully grasp their fair housing rights. Robertson explains, “Our goal is to reach unserved and underserved populations, promoting public policy that supports equal housing opportunity.”
With their unwavering dedication and three-tiered approach, HOPE works towards building an inclusive society where housing opportunities are available to everyone, regardless of their background or identity. By supporting their mission, each of us contributes to shaping a fair housing landscape that benefits every member of our community.
Click para leerlo en Español: Vivienda Justa: La Esperanza de un Mañana Mejor