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Message from PDAS Demetria McCain

A Message From PDAS Demetria McCain

As we close the door to one year and begin anew, I extend my sincerest appreciation for the important work that you do to advance civil rights. Despite personal and professional challenges, this year you have met people where they are, and you have offered hope to victims of housing discrimination. Our Nation is better because of the passion, commitment and professionalism you bring to this most noble of cause of fair housing.

As I reflect on your work this year, I am especially thankful for our work together through the National Fair Housing Training Academy. Over 600 individuals passed through the Academy’s 4-day, Instructor-Led courses on Basics of Fair Housing, Fundamentals of Intake, Fundamentals of FHAP Investigation, and Litigating Fair Housing Cases. I encourage you to continue sharing these courses with your colleagues who have not yet benefitted.

You (and over 3500 others) also engaged in conversations through the Academy’s National Fair Housing Forums on emerging fair housing topics of national importance. I’m heartened that NFHTA has covered topics like Strategies for LGBTQI+ and Gender Identity Housing Discrimination Investigations; Combating Housing-Related Harassment and Hate Crimes Against the AANHPI Community; and Post-COVID Mortgage Forbearance Options and Preventing Discriminatory Foreclosures.

Yet it’s not just that you engaged, it’s how you engaged. You showed up sharing your passion and experiences in this fight for housing equality. Your civil rights colleagues from HUD, state, local, and private fair housing organizations did the same. You grew partnerships, friendships, and an enriched fair housing community. This is how we will win the fight for housing equity.

And so, as we collectively look ahead with clear purpose, know that your HUD colleagues and I are on your team and in your corner.

Wishing you and yours the most peaceful holiday season and a safe and Happy New Year.


With great respect,

Demetria McCain

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

Learn more about PDAS McCain

Meet the Faculty: Joshua Barr, Esq.

Joshua Barr is an Emmy award-winning transformational leader from South Carolina with an MBA and Juris Doctorate. He believes that true change must come from within and works tirelessly with organizations, communities, and individuals to help them improve from the inside out. Joshua is on the faculty for NFHTA’s Litigating Fair Housing Cases and Fundamentals of Fair Housing- FHAP Investigation courses. Here’s a preview of Joshua’s full interview:

Q&A with Joshua:

What brought you to fair housing work?

While living in Colombia, South America, I was doing community organizing and someone asked me why I was there doing this work versus being home doing similar work in my community. I took that conversation to heart and ended up moving back to the U.S. Upon returning, I worked at a private practice law firm. While I found some success in private practice, I realized that I was only making differences for individuals and wanted to broaden to more systemic work.

What is the most satisfying part of being an instructor for NFHTA?

The most satisfying part is helping people see things from a different angle or point of view. Even when working with my NFHTA faculty colleagues, our methods and means for getting to the result aren’t always identical, despite moving toward the same goal. Learning from one another while helping others is a great feeling.

What is one piece of advice you have for a new practitioner working in fair housing?

The strongest piece of advice I can give is don’t just be happy doing this work; dig a little deeper into making the world a more inclusive place. For example, when I became a civil rights attorney, I thought I had my dream job. However, I soon realized that just investigating cases was not going to be enough to end housing violations and discrimination. I dug deeper into systemic work, making community connections to identify issues and organizing people to address issues before we began organizing to enact solutions.

Learn more about Joshua
Pro Tips for FHIPs and FHAPs

Maximizing Your NFHTA Course Experience

Raise your virtual hand if you have taken any of NFHTA’s instructor-led courses! If you have, you already know that they are rich in information, engagement, and networking opportunities with your fair housing colleagues across the country.

In addition to the course facilitation, there are opportunities before and after every day of instruction for 30 minutes of networking and Q&A.

Below are tips for you to use in 2022 as you continue to grow your fair housing knowledge and experience by maximizing your virtual classroom learning experiences.

  • What’s your learning style?
    Everyone has a way of learning that works best for them. There are many reputable online quizzes that you can find that will assess your preferred learning style. These tools can help you identify if you are a visual/verbal learner, visual/nonverbal learner, auditory/verbal learner, and/or tactile/kinesthetic learner. Having a rich understanding of how you learn best will inform you on what you need to have to achieve the best outcomes when learning new information and skills.
  • Make your space work for you.
    Virtual classrooms provide great flexibility to take the learning where you need it to be. Remove distractions (as much as that is possible)—maybe even try a white noise machine to block out external noise. Wherever you are, make it conducive to focusing on learning.
  • Communicate your needs.
    NFHTA is here to be an asset for you. The courses have been designed to have full accessibility for everyone. However, if you have a specific learning accommodation or language requirement, please let us know during registration and/or email us at so we can address them promptly to meet your needs.
In case you missed it....

October and November National Fair Housing Forum Materials Now Available

Combating Housing-Related Harassment and Hate Crimes Against the AANHPI Community – October 20, 2021

This forum provided information about the recent nature and extent of harassment and violence against the AANHPI community; outline the potential mental health consequences of such actions; specify how harassment and hate crimes may violate fair housing laws; and provide strategies and tools that fair housing practitioners and attorneys can utilize to investigate and combat harassment and hate crimes against the AANHPI community.

View October Forum Materials

Strategies for LGBTQI+ and Gender Identity Housing Discrimination Investigations – November 17, 2021

This forum outlined how sexual orientation and gender identity are covered by the Fair Housing Act, establish what constitutes a prima facie case of discrimination, provide some training to improve cultural competency in this field, and specify testing and investigative tools that may be utilized to investigate cases that allege discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

View November Forum Materials
Upcoming Events

National Fair Housing Forums

  • Save the Date | January National Fair Housing Forum
    January 19, 2022 | 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET
  • Save the Date | February National Fair Housing Forum
    February 16, 2022 | 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET
  • Save the Date | March National Fair Housing Forum
    March 16, 2022 | 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET

Instructor Led Courses

Stay tuned for when we release the 2022 Academy Course Calendar

View the Academy Event Calendar
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This material is based upon work supported by funding under an award with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. Neither the United States Government, nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately-owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. Government or any agency thereof. Opinions expressed on the HUD Exchange are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of, or a position that is endorsed by, HUD or by any HUD program.