The Fair Housing Five

A new book for children

FHF

This week marks the start of Fair Housing Five Month, a time to celebrate fair housing youth education with GNOFHAC’s original children’s book, The Fair Housing Five and the Haunted House.  The book is about a group of diverse kids that discover a landlord in their neighborhood is discriminating and work together to take action to ensure all are welcome in their community.  It is illustrated in vibrant full-color by local artist Sharika Mahdi-Neville.

The book introduces conversations about discrimination, the civil rights movement, diversity, fairness, and opportunity at a young age.  It is also designed to empower young people to fight injustice in their own communities! Read More…

Fall Workshops and Expanding The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House to Ohio!

Map drawn by student

A New Generation of City Planners

In October, we conducted two workshops with imaginative first graders at Alice Harte Charter School using The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House.  First, we read the book with the children and then designed maps of neighborhoods we would like to live in.  Throughout the activity, the students were incredibly creative in considering of all the resources they would like in their dream neighborhood, like fire stations, amusement parks, bookstores, pools, hospitals, malls, libraries, and more. Notably, the students included a range of housing options on their maps such as single family homes, shotgun doubles, and apartment buildings.  Displaying a strikingly clear understanding of the importance of integrated communities, most students said that the variety of housing options would meet the needs of their family and friends to so that they could all live in the same neighborhood. The maps will be displayed in the halls of Alice Harte Charter School this month.  First graders’ visions for integrated communities made us look forward to the day when they will serve as a new generation of city planners!

Expanding The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House to Ohio

We’re excited to share that the Fair Housing Five has made its way to Ohio! This fall, we conducted a workshop for some wonderful fair housing advocates from the Fair Housing Resource Center, Inc. of Painesville, Ohio. They came to visit us in New Orleans, purchased copies of The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House to distribute in their community, and got tips on how to lead their own fair housing youth workshops in Ohio. We are excited to know that more students throughout the country will soon know Samaria and her friends’ story!

Interested in purchasing copies of GNOFHAC’s full-color, illustrated children’s book The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted HouseVisit the website today.  You can also contact our Education Coordinator Sophie Rosen for more information about available resources, trainings and interactive workshops to accompany the book.

 

Ends & Beginnings

It is with some sadness that I prepare for my departure from the staff of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) this Friday.  It has been a great honor and pleasure to work with GNOFHAC for the past five years.  In those five years I have seen the organization grow in exciting ways.  When I started we had six people on staff, now we have thirteen.  We have expanded our enforcement, homeownership counseling, and education work and added a policy department.  As Education Coordinator I have had the pleasure of working with outreach staff, educators and advocates to organize five fair housing conferences, create workshops and curricula for young people about housing equity, institutionalize our training offerings through Fair Housing University, and realize one of GNOFHAC’s long term dreams by publishing a children’s book about housing discrimination.

I have also grown through my experience working with GNOFHAC.  I have learned that housing is at the center of the web of systems that impact communities, and that exclusionary housing policies and practices impact families for generations. I am deeply committed to the fair housing movement and I am interested in fair housing litigation as a tool for institutional change.  This fall I will be starting at Northeastern University School of Law, with the goal of supporting fair housing work as a civil rights attorney.

I am delighted that my extremely competent colleague Sophie Rosen will be taking over my role as Education Coordinator in September.  She has been working with me all year on our youth outreach project, helping me to promote and distribute The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House and to conduct workshops with youth around the city.  She has also facilitated and co-facilitated trainings with me through Fair Housing University for service providers, housing providers, and renters, homebuyers, and other community members.  Prior to September, inquiries related to our fair housing educational initiatives may be directed to Kate Scott, our Assistant Director, at kscott@gnofairhousing.org or (504) 596-2100.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with so many of you during my tenure at GNOFHAC, and I am confident our paths will cross again in the future.

-Hannah Adams

Equal Opportunity Game Wins Prize in International Competition for Innovative Youth Programs

Equal Opportunity GameThe Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) is pleased to announce that its “Equal Opportunity Game” youth workshop has been selected as a winner of the Ashoka Changemakers “Activating Empathy” competition.  The purpose of the “Activating Empathy” competition is to identify innovative projects that build empathy and leadership skills in young people.  GNOFHAC’s game and fair housing curriculum was one of 628 entries from 74 countries, and is among four projects selected to receive the “Mattel Prize for Play.”

The Equal Opportunity Game is an interactive board game for students in grades four through eight that demonstrates the impact of housing discrimination on a family’s access to resources and opportunity.  GNOFHAC staff developed the game in partnership with local educators in 2010, and have shared the curriculum with dozens of schools and advocacy organizations and hundreds of young people in Louisiana, as well as Mobile, AL, and Grand Rapids, MI.  The Equal Opportunity Game is part of a larger set of curricular materials GNOFHAC has developed for youth, including its children’s book The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House, in an effort to provide information about fair housing to families and educate a new generation of leaders about civil rights and equity.

Contact us about how to bring the Equal Opportunity Game to your school or organization.

The Equal Opportunity Game is a finalist in the Ashoka Changemakers “Activating Empathy” competition!

Click to vote for our entry!I am thrilled to announce that GNOFHAC’s workshop for youth, the Equal Opportunity Game (formerly known as the Housing Choice Game), has been selected as a finalist in the Ashoka Changemakers Activating Empathy competition. The purpose of the competition is to identify innovative projects that build empathy and leadership skills in young people. Our game and fair housing curriculum for young people is one of 15 finalists out of 628 entries from 74 countries!

The Equal Opportunity Game was developed in 2010 by GNOFHAC and partner educators in New Orleans. It’s a board game that demonstrates the impact of housing discrimination on a family’s access to education, healthcare, employment, and other types of opportunity. Since 2010, GNOFHAC staff have partnered with twelve schools, community centers, and youth-serving organizations to conduct workshops with hundreds of elementary and middle school youth and educators. Please vote for our entry so that we can get the word out about our educational tools to more teachers and advocates nationwide!

A busy spring for Samaria!

Hey friends! It’s been a busy spring for Samaria and her friends. In February we were back at Alice Harte Charter School reading The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House with first graders. Then in March we worked with Alice Harte eighth graders for a week on a game that demonstrates the impact of housing discrimination and an urban planning project. (Great news- we’ve invented a version of the Housing Choice Game that takes less time, so if you wanted to bring the game into your classroom but didn’t have an open block long enough, give me a call!) March also brought us back to McDonogh 32 Literacy Charter through our partnership with Young Audiences. Then in April we went back to Audubon Charter School, home to our very first workshop two years ago! We did the Housing Choice Game with 4th, 5th and 6th grade students, talked about the Fair Housing movement, and designed fair housing posters. I am endlessly impressed and inspired by the young people we work with, who are thoughtful, creative, and deeply outraged by injustice. Scroll down for photos.

And the Oscar goes to…

Check out these fair housing public service announcements written, directed, performed and produced by members of the after school Entrepreneur Art Club at the Freret Neighborhood Center!  Thanks to the EAC for helping us get the word out to the community about fair housing. These videos tackle housing discrimination based on race and religion.

P.S. We can make fair housing PSAs with your group of young advocates as well!  Call (504) 596-2100 x. 109 or email hadams@gnofairhousing.org to schedule a workshop.

It’s almost Fair Housing Month!

It’s not too late to order The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House for Fair Housing Month!   Our children’s book provides a great way to engage young people and reach families with information about housing discrimination and the important role fair housing centers play in communities across the country.  Follow in the footsteps of fair housing advocacy groups in Connecticut, Virginia, Colorado and Oklahoma and order some copies of the book to share in April!  Contact me and I’ll send you a free curriculum guide.

Spring at Alice Harte

This February and March we’ve been doing a series of workshops with first grade students at Alice Harte Charter School.  In the workshop we read The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House and talk about discrimination.  Then we discuss the things we want and don’t want in our neighborhoods, and students put on their urban planner hats and design a map of a neighborhood they would like to live in.  The students seem to really enjoy this 1.5 hour workshop and learn something new about the importance of justice and diversity and the harm caused by discrimination.  To schedule a free workshop at your school call (504) 596-2100 x. 109 or email hadams@gnofairhousing.org.

 

Bring the Fair Housing Five home for the holidays!

Fair Housing FiveThe Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House is the perfect holiday gift for the children in your life.  Written for ages 6+ and used successfully in first through fifth grade classrooms, The Fair Housing Five is fun, educational, and empowering.  It’s a great tool for opening up conversations with your child about social justice and equity.  In the book, Samaria and her friends investigate a haunted house across the street form their clubhouse, only to find that the house isn’t haunted after all.  Instead, they find a landlord who is discriminating, and must find a creative way to stop him.  The book includes a glossary and thought questions with which you can engage your child.  And last but not least, the book contains beautiful, full-color illustrations by New Orleans’ own Sharika Mahdi!

Order your copy today here, or if you live in New Orleans, come pick it up at our office!  Give Hannah a call at 504-596-2100 x.109 to arrange a pickup.