The Diversity and Housing Issues Connection – Part 1 of 2

Throughout this summer, I seemed to be involved, read information or met people who are connected with housing issues. And then I realized that there is a very strong connection between diversity work and housing.

Where a person or family lives is one of the most critical aspects of their lives and could determine access to jobs, training and needed services. Centrally located affordable housing offered without discriminatory practices near available transportation can be the single determining factor for someone to better their lives and advance out of joblessness or poverty.

In April, I was privileged to attend the annual Fair Housing Conference cohosted by the City of Raleigh, NC Fair Housing Hearing Board. Some of the key points presented by various speakers and panelists included:
• One successful model is non-profit corporations teaming with municipalities and neighborhoods to build and manage affordable housing that positively impacts neighborhoods. One such example is CASA in North Carolina. Some of their recent projects have targeted veterans and people with disabilities.

This beautiful CASA property is reserved with individuals and families with disabilities

This beautiful CASA property is reserved with individuals and families with disabilities


• Another best practices is when city or town governments work creatively across departments (like community affairs and transportation) to come up with solutions for city residents.
• There are certain populations that have an extra hard time find housing. These include ex-prisoners trying to productively re-enter society to start a new life, and immigrants who could face language barriers in filling out the paperwork and understanding lease agreements.
• Blatant discrimination against particular groups is still a reality in the United States. This poignant and shocking video (link) about discrimination against Muslims by an apartment complex in Texas was shown to conference attendees.
• There are a number of passionate and very knowledgeable groups and leaders who are working tirelessly to address the housing issue. One who was honored at the event was national housing leader and consultant Stella Adams. See also the NC Justice Center’s Consumer Protection and Housing Project.

The closing speaker for the conference was Bryan Greene, the US General Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. He highlighted some of the excellent work being coordinated out of the US Federal Government. Some of his key points included:
• There are still many issues around fair housing that HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) needs to continue to address into the future. This work is nowhere near over.
• The area of disabilities accounts for the largest number of complaints filed with HUD (45% of the total.) The most common issues are lack of accommodation (e.g. parking, assistance animals, etc.) and allowing modifications to units.
• Other hot areas of housing discrimination include familial (especially against single parents with children) and religious (especially against Muslims)
• Segregated communities are harmful for our country whereas fully integrated diverse communities will build a stronger nation.

In Part 2 coming next week I will expand into the connections between housing issues and my core area of diversity expertise – the LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender – community, including Bryan Greene’s comments about this area.

A Special Labor Day Blog: The Largest Threat to the American Economy and Entrepreneurism

What is the largest threat that is poisoning our economy?

What is the largest threat that is poisoning our economy?


Every so often I like to digress and write a blog outside my normal areas of diversity management and career development. In this blog I want to address what I believe is the most serious threat to entrepreneurs and the economic recovery today. And I hope this goes viral and is sent to President Obama and Congress to take some action!

I bet some of you are thinking that I am going to start ragging on Obamacare. Others may think I am going to write about the wholesale shipping of IT and manufacturing jobs overseas. And others may think I am going to write about the tax system or governmental paperwork that could take far too much time away from developing and selling products and services.

But it is none of these. No, in my view the biggest threat to small businesses is the astronomical explosion of spam mail and “phishing.” Let me explain.

The barrage of junk e-mails is simply overwhelming!

The barrage of junk e-mails is simply overwhelming!


I get about 500 emails per day, and 490 of them are unwelcome. In a typical day and I will get 20 emails from someone I don’t know telling me my credit rating has taken a dangerous plunge and how they can help restore it, and at the same time I get 20 emails telling me my credit rating has greatly improved and that they will loan me $10,000. Mixed in with those are emails offering me Russian brides, miracle diets, six-pack abs and a larger “male endowment.” Most of these are unsolicited unwanted spam from people I have never heard of.
Really?  Can I get six-pack abs in a week with no effort?  And do I really want a Russian bride?

Really? Can I get six-pack abs in a week with no effort? And do I really want a Russian bride?

But then add to that e-mails from non-profits I do support (do I really need three updates per day?) and 20 different political organizations seeking to raise funds for a variety of causes supported by my political party, and my inbox backs up faster than airplanes trying to fly into LaGuardia airport at 5:00 PM.

So why exactly is this flood of emails harming my business? I have to spend an hour each day wading through all this junk to see if there are any legitimate business e-mails. I could set up a strict spam filter but then I could accidentally lose a key e-mail or two from potential clients asking for a “Total Engagement Career Mapping” proposal or contacting me about a speaking engagement. And when I send out my monthly e-newsletter (yes – only one per month!), many of my readers who will want the useful resources I send out will miss it amidst their 500 spam mails. And many times when I do send a personalized e-mail reaching out to a potential client, they miss it because they too get too much junk.

If I had my way - all junk e-mailers and phishers would be behind bars with the key thrown away!

If I had my way – all junk e-mailers and phishers would be behind bars with the key thrown away!


I call on our American Executive and Legislative Branches to do something! Perhaps pass some laws and then round up these parasites and stick them all in jail for five years. The freeing up of productive time will fuel the economy enough so that the additional collected taxes will more than pay for the additional prisons. Plus we can hire more prison personnel which will further help our stumbling economy and the unemployment rate.


Who wants to start or join a movement to stop all spam and junk e-mails?