Fair Housing Conversations Beyond Homelessness: Challenges and How Public Libraries Can Be Part of the Solution

The Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Library Association, and the Fair Housing Project of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) are pleased to present two webinars for library staff, volunteers, trustees, and others on local housing issues and Fair Housing Month.

We are in an unprecedented moment, still deep into a health crisis that has magnified existing economic and health disparities and has destabilized our country, state, and communities. Meanwhile, there is a tremendous energy for civic engagement, and people are finding ways to make positive change at the local level and to support their neighbors. Safe, affordable homes are the foundation for opportunity, and a strong correlation exists between health disparities and housing opportunity, especially for people of color and others in protected classes. Thousands of Vermonters were already in a precarious housing situation before COVID – and tens of thousands more struggle to find affordable, and accessible homes.

As community and information hubs, Vermont libraries are in the unique position to facilitate community-level change on issues of social, racial, and economic justice and to help people become more involved in local decision-making on all issues, including housing. 

  • The Dec. 10 webinar will include an overview of the systemic housing issues in Vermont, including discrimination, accessibility, affordability, and homelessness; how this impacts our communities and library services; and a discussion on how libraries have engaged their communities in positive activities related to fair housing, homelessness, and local housing needs.
  • The Feb. 4 webinar will include information about April Fair Housing Month and how to get involved, activity templates, and a panel of library staff from Vermont sharing examples of their activities, resources, and events. You’ll leave this interactive session with concrete ideas and supports for implementing Fair Housing Month activities in your library.

We hope you will join us to discuss how your library can foster discussion and community engagement on housing issues and participate in April Fair Housing Activities.

The webinars will be held online from 3:30-4:30pm Dec. 10 and Feb. 4. To register, go to: libraries.vermont.gov/services/continuing_ed.

For more information, contact Joy Worland.

These webinars are presented by the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Library Association, and the Fair Housing Project of CVOEO (www.cvoeo.org/fhp) as part of a new education and outreach partnership. This program is supported by a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Housing Initiatives Program grant and supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, through the Library Service and Technology Act as administered by the Vermont Department of Libraries.