Promoting Housing Justice
A VIRTUAL ADA SEMINAR:
From Barriers to Full Community Access for People with Disabilities
October 12, 13, 19, 20
Panel: Best Practices in Local Housing Policy
Moderator: Brittanie Maddox (Disability Rights Advocate, The Ability Center)
Nick Komives, City of Toledo Council Member At-Large
Rosalyn Clemens, Director, Department of Neighborhoods
Tom Mackin, Esq., Chief Administrative & Legal Officer, Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority
Mike Hart, Executive Director, Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board
Accommodations and Modifications: The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Under The Fair Housing Act and How to Enforce Them
George Thomas, Vice President and General Counsel from The Fair Housing Center
George Thomas is a 2007 graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law. George’s practice focuses on nonprofit legal services particularly in the areas of housing, landlord-tenant, fair housing, and other civil rights laws. George has worked as an AmeriCorps Homelessness Prevention attorney with a focus on eviction defense. He received a competitive Equal Justice Works Fellowship which focused on housing and community development. Next, George worked as a Senior Attorney with a focus on housing, community development, and health issues. George now serves as the Vice President and General Counsel for The Fair Housing Center where he oversees litigation, administrative cases before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, and a landlord-tenant mediation program. George also frequently works on local policy advocacy and research related to The Fair Housing Center’s mission.
Fair Housing Amendments Act Design and Construction Requirements
Sara Pratt, Counsel from Relman Colfax PLLC
Sara Pratt joined the national civil rights law firm Relman Colfax in 2015 after her retirement from the federal government. Her civil rights litigation practice with the firm focuses on the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, and related civil rights laws, with an emphasis on challenges to institutional barriers to access to housing, lending, and insurance and to policies and practices that perpetuate segregation based on race, national origin, and disability.
Sara has also settled many cases, including cases involving lending redlining, use of criminal history to exclude tenants, and disability rights/accessibility. She serves as an expert witness and speaker on multiple contemporary fair housing and civil rights issues.
Prior to joining the firm, Sara was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing Enforcement and Programs and Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, she directed civil rights enforcement for HUD nationally and led the development of regulations and policy guidance on numerous emerging civil rights issues, including the application of the Fair Housing Act to domestic violence in housing, criminal background criteria for housing, accessibility, the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, and zoning and land use issues. She helped develop HUD’s final rules on harassment, discriminatory effects, affirmatively furthering fair housing and the housing for older persons exemption for familial status discrimination. She also led the negotiations for HUD which resulted in the settlement of HUD v. Associated Bank, HUD’s largest lending redlining settlement, and HUD v. Wells Fargo, HUD’s largest maternity leave lending settlement.
She was also a subject matter expert on accessibility and the Fair Housing Act for the Fair Housing FIRST project and has trained thousands of developers, code enforcers, and architects on the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
Sara has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a Department-wide award from former HUD Secretary Julian Castro for Excellence in Performance for leading a team to address maternity and paternity leave discrimination by lenders, a special commendation from the U.S. Department of Justice for outstanding performance and invaluable assistance in the work of the Civil Rights Division, the 2015 Texas Housers Award, and the Mildred and Richard Loving Award from the Connecticut Fair Housing Center. Additional details are available at: https://www.relmanlaw.com/team-sara-pratt
The Intersection Between Housing and Health and the State of Housing and Homelessness in Ohio
Gina Wilt, Advocacy Director from COHHIO
Gina Wilt was raised in the small town of Botkins, Ohio. She graduated from the Ohio State University with a double major in Political Science and Journalism & Communications.
She has worked in state government affairs for over 17 years. Gina currently works to end homelessness and to promote affordable housing for our lowest income Ohioans as the Advocacy Director for the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. Prior to this position she served as Vice President for CRN Consulting, Ltd., a bi-partisan government advocacy firm. She was trained and mentored in the Ohio Senate where she worked as the Senior Legislative Aide to State Senator Scott Oelslager, the Chairman of the Senate Finance committee.
Gina is a council member for the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council. She is on the central Ohio local leader board for the American Lung Association. She also serves as a board member for the Ohio Poverty Law Center and the Ohio Olmstead Taskforce and is a member of the Ohio Lobbying Association.
Gina lives in Hilliard with her husband, Rigo, and their two very active boys.
Panel: Overcoming Barriers to Independent Living from the Perspective of Advocates with Disabilities
Moderator: Valerie Fatica (Disability Manager, City of Toledo)
Community Partnership Award: Developing Accessible Tiny Homes for the Bluff Street Village Project
Larry Clark, Ph.D., Bluff Street Village
Pastor Larry Clark has been involved in housing initiatives for many years. He served as president of the Greater Toledo Housing Coalition. For six years, Larry was the Executive Director of Toledo Metropolitan Ministries, an agency working for social justice, supervising twenty employees. From 2002 to 2006 he chaired the Citizen’s Review Committee for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Pastor Clark has a Ph.D. in Sociology, an undergraduate degree in Social Work, in addition to Master’s Degrees in Divinity and Education. He is an ordained United Methodist pastor who has served in urban ministry for 40 years. He also has years of construction experience, doing plumbing, wiring, and construction on mission projects for 40 years.