Fair housing panel prepares for training

STEUBENVILLE – The city’s fair housing practices commission will host a roundtable discussion on April 21 at the Gaylord Towers, and the Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center will hold a series of training sessions as part of Fair Housing month in the community.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi said Monday night each member of the Fair Housing Practices Commission will discuss a topic during the roundtable discussion set for 6:30 p.m. in the Gaylord Towers Community Room.

“Carl White of the Regional Housing Center of Columbus is preparing information on housing discrimination regarding race, color and national origin as well as religion, military status, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. Commission members will also be discussing disability and handicap and familial status during the round table meeting,” explained Petrossi.

“The roundtable meeting at the Gaylord Towers is similar to meetings we have held at the Fort Steuben Hotel and the John F. Kennedy apartment building in past years,” said Petrossi.

The commission members are requesting the City Council introduce and approve a resolution recognizing April as Fair Housing Month in Steubenville.

Petrossi said three billboards in the city will have a fair housing sign posted during April urging anyone with a question or concern about housing discrimination to contact the city’s fair housing office.

The Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center has scheduled a series of housing discrimination training seminars for April and May throughout the county in conjunction with the fair housing program of Jefferson County.

The first training seminar will be held on April 24 at the Jefferson County Courthouse for the county commissioners and their staff.

“We will have seminars on April 21 and May 19 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Indian Village Apartments community room in Mingo Junction and on April 22 and May 20 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Saline Township Complex in Hammondsville. The seminars are free and open to the public,” said Petrossi.

“A training seminar is also scheduled for April 22 and May 20 from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School in Bloomingdale. And we have set a closed session for JVS students only on May 20 at the school,” added Petrossi.

“We are presenting two seminars at each location. The first seminar concerns the rights and responsibilities of fair housing, and the second seminar will deal with the complaint process and persons with disabilities. More information about the seminars and fair housing in Jefferson County is available by calling the Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center at (740) 283-6000, extension 1700,” noted Petrossi.

Both the city’s Fair Housing Practices Commission and the Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center discussed the status of housing discrimination complaints filed with their organizations.

“I am very glad we formed the Ohio Valley Fair Housing Center because now we can help people throughout the county as well as surrounding counties who feel they are the victim of housing discrimination,” said commission member John Barnes.