SANTA MONICA—The Consumer Protection Division of the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office (CAO) is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 with a string of activities for the month. According to the city of Santa Monica website, the CAO is co-sponsoring the workshop Fair Housing Issues in Rental Housing on Tuesday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Santa Monica Main Library. The co-sponsors include:

-Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR)

-Santa Monica Rent Control Board

-Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA)

-Action Apartment Association

Presenters include Chancela Al-Mansour, Executive Director of the Southern California Housing Rights Center; Jessica Weisman, Partner at the Law Offices of Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP; Denise McGranahan, Senior Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles; and Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades and Consumer Specialist Andrea Cavanaugh from the CAO. One of the topics discussed at the workshop will be immigration-related issues in relation to fair housing.

Property managers, attorneys, tenants, owners and social-service providers are invited to attend, free of charge. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited so participants are asked to register early. Online registration ends on Friday, April 20.

The City Attorney’s Office is hosting its popular annual Santa Monica Student Fair Housing Poster Contest will feature over 500 elementary and junior high students from Santa Monica who partook in the contest this year, creating dynamic posters that feature the 2018 theme 50 Years of Fair Housing For All.  A recent panel of judges recently selected nine finalists.

The finalists’ posters will be on display in the lobby of Santa Monica City Hall of the week of April 23. Four of the posters will be published as calendars for 2019 and will be part of Santa Monica’s fair housing newspaper ad campaign.  On Monday, April 23, the city will host the People’s Choice Award in which students, teachers, parents and general public are welcome to come view the nine posters from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in City Hall to cast their votes.

In addition to these events, the CAO helped produce two new fair housing videos that are now available on YouTube:

-Follow John To Learn About Fair Housing: This unique animation project is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the CAO, IdeaRocket, and Peter Riedle, a young artist who as a seventh grader last year at St. Anne’s School submitted a poster to the poster contest. The sixty-second video brings to life the characters depicted in the poster, including John the wheelchair user, his friends, family and landlord. Follow John To Learn About Fair Housing can be viewed here.

-The Past, Present and Future of Fair Housing: A Symposiom Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968: The City’s symposium on January 18, 2018 featured a blockbuster panel of three speakers, including U.S. Senator (ret.) Fred Harris, the last living member of the 1967-68 Kerner Commission who voted for the Fair Housing Act of 1968; Chancela Al-Mansour, Executive Director of the Housing Rights Center; and Director Kevin Kish, Department of Fair Employment & Housing. The event was filmed and edited by Santa Monica CityTV, and the production has been viewed here over 10,000 times on YouTube.

“Working with the co-sponsors, speakers, teachers and students on these projects has been one of my favorite experiences at City Hall,” said Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades. “It’s a tribute to both the Fair Housing Act and to our community that so many different and diverse groups and people came together to make these projects possible.”