City of Columbia hosts seminar on housing laws

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COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia and the Commission on Human Rights and Disabilities Commission hosted the fourth annual Fair Housing and Lending Seminar to educate the community on their rights regarding housing.

The seminar provided attendees with updates on the importance of fair and affordable housing, rights for those who need service animals and the history of structural racism in housing.

Brittany Chapman is a human rights officer with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and handles housing investigations.

“I’m here to gather more information on the law so that I can better advise people on what they can do and what they can’t do,” Chapman said.

More than 100 people were in attendance including housing authority employees, state agency workers, property managers and tenants.

Attorney Amanda Biondolino said service animals in housing is a growing area of concern.

She said, “A lot of these support animal issues in particular involve individuals with mental health disabilities, so it’s becoming more and more prevalent as more individuals with health disabilities are finding housing in society.”

The conference included a program fair to allow participants to learn more about home ownership, energy efficiency and strengthening neighborhoods in the community. 

An attorney, two law professors and a housing programs supervisor spoke at the event.

“There are a lot of different components that can come into a fair housing issue. So they really do a good job here of having a broad range of panel speakers to touch all those issues,” Biondolino said.