The Fair Housing Five

A new book for children

Announcing the launch of the 2nd Edition and Spanish translation of The Fair Housing Five!

You asked for it, and now it’s here!Fair Housing Five book launch (2)

On April 20, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) will launch the Second Edition and Spanish translation of its original children’s book, The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House. If you’re in New Orleans, please join us for the book launch party on Wednesday, April 20 from 4:30 to 6:00 at the Children’s Resource Center!

GNOFHAC worked with parents, teachers, students, and New Orleans illustrator Sharika Mahdi Neville to develop the award-winning book back in 2010. The Fair Housing Five tells the story of a group of young students who discover that a landlord in their community is discriminating against their friends. The project was developed in response to the wave of housing injustices committed in Southeast Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and serves as a tool not only for empowering children to think of themselves as advocates for justice, but also for reaching their parents with important information about their housing rights. The book has been updated to include a storyline about discrimination based on national origin and translated into Spanish to resonate with a broader audience.


“That happened to my family, but we didn’t know it was discrimination.” -Student at Fair Housing Five workshop


The Fair Housing Five helps educators and parents initiate empowering conversations with children about opportunity, the Civil Rights Movement, and the role that all members of a community can play in advocating for justice. The Fair Housing Five has been incorporated into classrooms and youth programs across the country, has reached thousands of young students, and was featured in HUD’s Evidence Matters publication as an innovative tool for educating the community about fair housing.  In 2015 and 2016, the book was introduced into all public elementary schools in the Baltimore County school system!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe urgent need to incorporate lessons on civil rights and social justice into our nation’s classrooms is underlined by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s dismal finding that a whopping 16 U.S. states do not require teachers to cover the Civil Rights Movement at all. According to the SPLC’s report (you can—and should—read it here), 35 out of 50 states cover “less than 20 percent – or, in many cases none – of the required content” of this major period of American history. If students are to understand and process current events and the ongoing struggle for racial justice in the United States, it is imperative that they have foundational knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement and the events and leaders that molded our society into its current state. To help educators seamlessly incorporate The Fair Housing Five into their existing curricula, the book and supplemental curriculum include strategies and tips for engaging Louisiana Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) in Language Arts, History, Civics, Geography, and Economics.

You can order a copy of the Second Edition or Spanish translation of The Fair Housing Five here.  Educators and others working with youth who are interested in using The Fair Housing Five in their classrooms should contact Renee Corrigan at (504) 717-4050 or

Are you an educator who serves Spanish-speaking children in Louisiana?  Call us today at (504) 717-4050 to receive a free copy of The Fair Housing Five through the month of April!

50 Best Culturally Diverse Children’s Book

Amazing GraceToday the Guardian released a list of the 50 best culturally diverse children’s books. The list includes books from over the past 60 years that celebrate cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity. The list was created by the UK organization, Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books. Tomorrow the Guardian is launching an online discussion where anyone can share their favorite book on diversity! Read about it here.

GNOFHAC understands the importance of discussing and promoting diversity through reading with kids of all ages. That’s why we created the Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House. October is Fair Housing Five Month, a time to celebrate fair housing and civil rights education for young people! This month, we’re offering free workshops to any classroom, neighborhood group, community center, or religious groups interested. Contact our Education and Outreach Director at or (504) 596-2100.

October is Fair Housing Five Month!


What: A time to celebrate civil rights and fair housing youth education!

Why: Because we know that it’s imperative for young people to be engaged in meaningful and challenging dialogue about fairness and equity. We have seen first hand how these conversations and workshops encourage kids to become actors in ending discrimination!

When: All of October!

Invite GNOFHAC to facilitate a FREE Fair Housing Five workshop using our original children’s book, The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House, in a classroom, religious group, library, youth group, or neighborhood park near you! You can also purchase a copy of the book. All proceeds go towards GNOFHAC’s work to end housing discrimination.

Contact GNOFHAC’s Education and Outreach Director at or (504) 717-4050 to schedule a workshop. Workshops are limited.

The work that provided the basis for this event was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public.  The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication.  Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

It’s Not an Option!

GNOFHAC staff just completed a 3-day workshop at Audubon Charter school with Ms. Monique Butler’s 5th grade class, playing the Fair Housing Equal Opportunity Game. Ms. Butler was a key partner in creating the game. After playing the game, each student creating a fair housing poster to educate their parents, guardians, friends, cousins, churches, and other community groups of unlawful housing discrimination. We just wanted to share this awesome poster from a student in her class!

Kids poster

To learn more and schedule a workshop, contact Education and Outreach Director Sophie Rosen at or call (504) 717-4571.

Don’t Shy Away From Books About Tough Issues

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 4.20.33 PM

Recently, Jabari Asim, a children’s book author and professor at Emerson College, published an opinion piece in the New York Times. “Don’t Shy Away From Books About Tough Issues” argues the importance of exposing children to subjects like race, gender, and politics. Asim writes that these books not only make children better equipped for the tough issues they may eventually face, but it is also essential for children to see characters like themselves or their family reflected in books.

Frequently when I tell people I’m going to lead a workshop with youth about housing discrimination, they give me a somewhat doubtful look. I understand, as I was also slightly skeptical when I heard GNOFHAC had a book to teach 1st through 6th graders about discriminatory housing. After reading The Fair Housing Five & The Haunted House though, a book written collaboratively by children, educators, caregivers, and fair housing providers, it became clear that a book like this is invaluable for youth. The themes that this book covers–fairness, justice, discrimination, and civil rights–are themes that even five and six year old children understand. Every time I asked kids in summer workshops if they could name a leader that fought against discrimination, they had an answer–Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Nelson Mandela, the kids always spouted off.

Books like The Fair Housing Five & The Haunted House are vital for kids to start thinking about issues that are relevant to their lives. They also have the power to start dialogues about topics that may be glossed over in a conventional classroom. We hope that this book can continue reaching students in Louisiana, but also across the United States, to encourage kids, parents, and educators alike to begin a conversation about the “tough issues”.

If you would like to schedule a youth workshop, please contact Education and Outreach Director, Sophie Rosen at or by calling (504) 596-2100 ext. 109.

Fair Housing Five Featured in HUD’s Independent Publication

Fair Housing Five

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has recently released their latest issue of Evidence Matters, which spotlights various current fair housing challenges and solutions. This edition focuses on how the face of housing discrimination has changed since 1968. Before civil rights legislation was passed, discrimination was blatant and explicit. Today, however, it often occurs as “discrimination with a smile,” a more subtle form of discrimination that can often be hard to identify. The issue also focuses on the importance of education and enforcement efforts in illuminating and ending unfair housing practices.

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center is featured on page 17, which shows students playing our fair housing board game–one of a few youth workshops we use to teach kids of all ages about the effects of discriminatory housing. Learn more about the Fair Housing Five workshops here.

Click here to read the full report of HUD’s Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Evidence Matters: Transforming Knowledge Into Housing and Community Development Policy.

The Fair Housing Five is on the Move this Summer!

The GNOFHAC Education and Outreach team has been busy this summer spreading the message of fair housing and the Civil Rights Movement as a part of their generous Target® summer grant. This grant has allowed the organization to lead summer workshops and distribute The Fair Housing Five & The Haunted House to schools and camps across the greater New Orleans area. The team has been on the move, leading workshops all the way from New Orleans East at Mildred Osborne Charter School to the Marigny at St. Paul Lutheran Church. We’ve already lead a total of seven youth workshops this summer, with more coming up!

Students have had a great time reading The Fair Housing Five & The Haunted House and creating maps of their dream neighborhoods. Many students expressed their love of reading, told us about their favorite books and subjects, and responded positively to the children’s book. One third-grader remarked, “This book had a really really good message.” Another expressed, “I love reading, and I thought this book was very interesting!”

If you are interested in having a workshop at your summer camp, youth organization, religious summer program, or summer school that serves students in 1st through 6th grade, please contact Education and Outreach Director, Sophie Rosen at or by calling (504) 596-2100 ext. 109.

Great Student Work!

In each Welcome to My Neighborhood workshop, students participate in an art project that draws on themes from the Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House. In some classrooms, students discussed the importance of access to resources and then created maps of equitable neighborhoods that they would want to live in. In other classrooms, students felt compelled to teach their friends, families, and community about fair housing and therefore created posters to educate others.

Check out some of the great student art work below: Read More…

60 More Classrooms to Receive a Copy of the Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House, Thanks to You!


Thanks to all of you that helped make Fair Housing Five Month a success!

Throughout October, GNOFHAC asked friends, family, and local businesses to support the youth Fair Housing Five initiative by sponsoring a classroom of their choice with a copy of The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House. Because of supporters like you, GNOFHAC will be delivering over 60 copies of the original children’s book to schools throughout the greater New Orleans area as well as the country this month! Now, more kids will learn about fair housing, the Civil Rights movement, and the importance of open communities!

photoGNOFHAC can’t thank you enough for your continued support of this important education initiative.

To learn more about the accompanying workshops, contact GNOFHAC Education Coordinator Sophie Rosen at or 504-596-2100.


Educators are the real stars of the Fair Housing Five!

Since 2010, GNOFHAC has taught about civil rights to hundreds of students in the greater New Orleans area using GNOFHAC’s original children’s book, The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House! This would not have been possible without our partnerships with educators, schools, and community centers that collaborated with us in the creation of the initiative, and welcomed us into their classrooms or community centers to facilitate meaningful workshops, despite their busy schedules.

Among the many educators and advocates that have collaborated with us, here are a few of our Fair Housing Five stars:

MBMs. Monique Butler, Audubon Charter School

Ms. Butler has been an integral part of the creation and implementation of the Fair Housing Five youth initiative since 2010.  Ms. Butler, an elementary school educator at Audubon Charter School in New Orleans, assisted GNOFHAC staff in forming youth workshops that are engaging, meaningful, age appropriate, and ignite social change.  Ms. Butler has since welcomed GNOFHAC staff into her classroom each school year for a three-day workshop with her awesome students and their parents and guardians.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMs. Rowan Shafer, Morris Jeff Community School  

Ms. Rowan Shafer, an elementary school educator at Morris Jeff Community School in New Orleans, was also a fundamental collaborator in the creation of the Fair Housing Five initiative.  Ms. Shafer assisted GNOFHAC staff in developing the children’s book as well as the workshops through a series of focus groups and workshops with students.  Ms. Shafer’s insight and guidance were imperative in the creation of the Fair Housing Five initiative.  She has continued her commitment to fair housing youth education by partnering with GNOFHAC staff for a workshop each academic year.

Mr. Paul Becnel, Alice M. Harte Charter School

Mr. Becnel, an educator at Alice M. Harte Charter School in New Orleans, has been a Fair Housing Five partner since the fall of 2011.  Mr. Becnel has partnered with GNOFHAC to facilitate countless workshops with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 8th grade students respectively throughout each academic year.  Mr. Becnel has also incorporated fair housing and civil rights education into his annual curriculum and exams.

We can’t thank these Fair Housing Five stars and all of our other partners enough for continuing to support GNOFHAC’s mission to end housing discrimination!

How can YOU help?

In honor of Fair Housing Five Month, GNOFHAC wants more young people to read The Fair Housing Five and get excited about ending discrimination, and you can help make it happen! You or your business/organization can donate a copy of The Fair Housing Five to a school of your choice, and GNOFHAC will deliver it!

Click here donate a book (or a few!) to a school in your community, or contact Education Coordinator, Sophie Rosen, here. If you’re an educator that is interested in introducing your students to civil rights issues through Fair Housing Five workshops, email

For more information about the book and the accompanying workshops, visit!