Harford County's Fair Housing event attendance among best in Maryland

May 07, 2012

It was a standing room only crowd April 20 at the Havre de Grace Activity Center for "Fair Housing in 2012: A Clear Path for All."

The training, free and open to the public, was the result of partnership and collaboration among the Harford County Department of Community Services Office of Human Relations, the Harford County Housing Agency and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

"Havre de Grace was essentially the last stop on the Underground Railroad for many heading north," Harford County Executive David Craig said in a press release.

To cross the bridge to go farther north, Craig said, runaways needed the permission of a white person. Under these circumstances some escapees simply remained in Havre de Grace forming communities. By the time the federal Fair Housing Act was passed in April 1968, Craig said, residents of Havre de Grace were already living in racially mixed neighborhoods. The Fair Housing Act was passed a few days after the assassination of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr., a fitting memorial to his life's work and a unifying measure at a challenging time, Craig said.

The agenda included other speakers: Raymond Skinner, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; Glendora Hughes, general counsel for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights; Carol Payne, field office director for HUD; Debra McGhee, director of the Baltimore Fair Housing Program Center, HUD; Robert McCord, Harford County Attorney; and Frank Baamonde, housing services counselor for Harford County Housing Agency.

The Fair Housing Act (as amended) prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and/or familial status (families with children under 18 years.) Covered dwellings include apartments, single family houses, mobile home parks, etc.

For additional information or if a person feels they have been unlawfully discriminated against contact the Harford County of Office of Human Relations, 220 S. Main St., Third Floor, Bel Air, MD, 410-638-4739.

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