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Fair Housing Event to Debut at White Plains Library Plaza

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The White Plains Library Plaza will soon be transformed into a 3D interactive art exhibit and block party celebrating fair housing. 

On June 29 at 5:30 p.m., visitors can visit the debut of Fair Street USA, which will feature a collection of small houses that are each designed by a community organization and artist to represent messages about fair housing. 

While the event will include music, food and fun, visitors will also be able to learn about fair housing choices, the impact of housing discrimination on communities and how to recognize and report fair housing concerns. 

“Fair housing education is essential to eliminating housing discrimination in communities. Each community must do their part to educate stakeholders about how to identify and combat these deleterious practices so every person has equitable access to housing,” White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said in a press release announcing the upcoming interactive event. “Thank you to the city staff, community organizations and artists that collaborated to bring Fair Street USA to the City of White Plains.”

Ten community organizations are slated to participate in the event, each conveying different important messages about fair housing. 

The Thomas H. Slater Center will spotlight discrimination based on race and color. El Centro Hispano will highlight discrimination based on national origin. 

“We thank the City of White Plains for inviting El Centro Hispano to represent the Hispanic community with this magnificent project. Thanks to this initiative, we will be able to share with others our rich heritage and cultural legacy which has now been enhanced by our experiences in this country,” said Isabel Villar, Executive Director of El Centro Hispano.

White Plains Interfaith Committee will discuss discrimination based on religion. The Loft LGBTQ+ Community Center will spotlight discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

“As the largest provider of programs and services for the LGBTQ+ community in Westchester County, we understand how vital it is to have access to a fair housing market,” said Jeffrey Guard, Director of Marketing and Communications at LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Center. “Many of our community members still struggle with housing discrimination and our hope is that this creative project will continue the important conversation of ensuring equal and fair access to housing for all in Westchester County.”

Lifting Up Westchester will highlight discrimination based on familial status. The White Plains Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities and Mental Health Association of Westchester will discuss discrimination based on disability. 

Westchester Residential Opportunities will focus on the history of fair housing. Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ Fair Housing Committee will discuss promoting fair housing. The Westchester County Human Rights Commission will highlight how to report discriminatory housing. The White Plains Mayor’s Youth Council will spotlight the future of fair housing. 

Four artists have helped turn the organizations’ visions into artistic representations. 

“Our project sits in the long, proud and powerful history of art for social change,” artist Jennifer Levine said. “I am honored to be part of this collaboration, and I am excited to see how the public responds Seeing a complex issue through an artistic lens often offers a new understanding.” 

Fair Street USA is funded through a grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“As the only HUD-qualified fair housing organization located in Westchester, we know first-hand the toll that discrimination can take on all aspects of people’s lives. Although fair housing became the law throughout the United States over 50 years ago with the enactment of the federal Fair Housing Act, we are still far from the goal of all Americans having equal opportunity for safe, affordable and accessible housing,” said Marlene Zarfes, Executive Director of Westchester Residential Opportunities. “Fair housing education is one step toward meeting this goal. We commend and congratulate the city for this creative approach to fair housing education.”

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