Seminar seeks dialogue on Columbia housing issues
COLUMBIA - An annual Fair Housing and Lending Seminar hopes to expose unfair housing in Columbia and teach ways it can be tempered.
The free seminar consists of expert statements, workshops and more. It went from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on April 5 at Daniel Boone City Building.
A recent survey by the city shows that, of 244 residents polled, 17 percent said they have encountered housing discrimination, while 56 percent said they believe it’s occurring in Columbia.
Building affordable housing is more complicated than just building smaller or cheaper, according to Randy Cole, Columbia housing program manager.
Cole said he has worked closely with residents to combat housing issues. His team has created programs like the Columbia Land Trust, a nonprofit that supports first-time home buyers.
Despite this, Cole said there is still work to be done.
“I think if you look at a lot of housing efforts in the past, I think that’s where we missed the boat is when we haven’t had everyone at the table and empowered all those important populations to be a part of the conversation”, Cole said.
The survey found that more than half of Columbia residents find fair housing practices very important.
“The seminar seeks to bring as many members together to learn about public housing," said seminar organizer Andrea Waner.