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Fair Housing and Accessibility Summit
April 22 - April 23
Discuss the rights of disabled persons under the
Fair Housing Act.
About this Event
Join Housing Opportunities Made Equal as we present “Fair Housing: Accessibility, Design and Construction.” This 2-day summit features experts in a variety of fields discussing the ways in which the law, technology, design and more contribute to creating the best homes for people with disabilities.
This year’s event will be held virtually on Zoom. You will be sent the link a few days before the event.
Agenda Fair Housing and Accessibility Summit April 22-23, 2021
As of March 24, 2021
Day 1 – Thursday, April 22, 2020
9:30-10:00 am Informal networking, housekeeping rules, event introduction
9:45am Presentation of the Judd Award to Brian Garry
10:00-11:00am Using People First Language and disability etiquette
*Robert Shuemak (HOST)
First things first- when encountering a person with disabilities it is important to know how to address them without offending. In this program, the presenters will go over what is “people first language” and the etiquette of interacting with persons with disabilities.
11:10am-Noon Law, policy and a look at fair housing cases in disability discrimination
In this program the speakers will discuss the rights of people with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act, why discrimination based on disability is the number one source of calls to Housing Opportunities Made Equal, a look at local cases that H.O.M.E. has settled and how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted fair housing.
12:10-1:00pm Technological advances in housing accessibility
*Heather Sturgill (HOST)
*Josh Svarda of
It is imperative for people with disabilities to make their homes accessible in order to foster self-reliance and give them the opportunity to live life as they choose. In this program, hear the presenters describe the latest technological devices that make homes more accessible, take a look at the future of accessible technology and discuss the laws that rental housing providers must follow in allowing their tenants to ask for modifications to their home.
1:00-1:15pm Day 1 wrap up and poll
1:15-2:00pm Optional Breakout Rooms – opportunity to discuss more in-depth
- Law Policy/Case Studies
- Technology in housing
Day 2 – April 23, 2020
9:30-10:00am Informal networking, housekeeping rules, event introduction, ice breakers
10:00-11:00am The challenges for those aging in place
*Aaron Grant (HOST)
*Ed Cunningham City of Cincinnati
*Lisa Kruse Council on Aging
Most seniors would prefer to remain in their own homes as they get older, and the current COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to reconsider the safety of alternatives like congregant living. However, aging-in-place comes with numerous challenges, especially those related to housing. In this program, the speakers will discuss the various reasons people choose to age in place, some of the home modifications that make this an easier undertaking and the resources available in the region to help with repairs and rehab of homes.
11:10am-Noon Construction and interior design perspectives on making your home more accessible
*Jeff Raser (HOST)
Panelists who represent the areas of architecture and interior design will discuss the ways in which structural modifications or design techniques can help those with disabilities better navigate their home.
12:00-12:15pm Day 2 wrap up and poll
12:15-1:00pm Optional Breakout Rooms – opportunity to discuss more in-depth
Aging in Place
Construction and interior design
I am a Tech Ambassador for the Southwest region of Ohio. As a tech ambassador, I present to people with disabilities about what the technology has done for me, and how it can work for them. As a person with multiple disabilities. I am a big supporter of using technology as a tool to help with Daly task. At Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services, I encourage people with disabilities, to think about using technology to improve their independents, and the quality of their life.
I use the technology in my home, in the community, and assisting others with obtaining, and learning the technology.
Dianna Warren is Ms. Wheelchair USA Ambassador she lives in Canton Ohio with her husband Howard which they have been married for 41 years. Dianna was diagnosed at age 6 with Spinal Muscular Atrophy it’s a form of muscular dystrophy which confines her to a wheelchair on a daily bases which has not let her disability stop her in living a normal life and accomplishing outstanding achievements she graduated high school and planned her wedding as well as a few other weddings for family & friends. Dianna then started exploring job opportunities she worked as an appointment scheduler for a carpet cleaning company also worked at Baby R Us & Telemarketing jobs. Dianna then started competing in wheelchair pageant which she was a 4 time winner as Ms. Wheelchair Ohio & traveled around speaking on her platform positive attitudes & representing people with disabilities, then went on to Compete in Ms. Wheelchair USA & was 1st runner up she has won several outstanding awards such as people’s choice award, spirit award, press award & 2nd & 3rd runner up. She was inducted into the Canton Women’s Hall Of Fame for her accomplishments & community services, she won several awards in the Ohio Wheelchair Sports, she does fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy association, and has been for 35 years a secretary / treasurer of a bowling league for people with physical & mental disabilities which she has several bowling awards and has a 150 bowling average. She now volunteers for the Dane Foundation which is a program that provides the unique needs of individuals with physical & developmental disabilities which they reach out to those in need in the community serving more than 1000 individuals and their families each year especially Christmas. Dianna currently promotes the Ms. Wheelchair USA Pageant as she is their Ambassador & the mission of the program is to promote glamour , self- confidence , and community service…Celebrating the achievements of Women with disabilities. Dianna’s motto is My Ability is Stronger than my Disability
Patrick Ober, J.D., Ph.D., is the Disability Rights and Advocacy Specialist for the Center For Independent Living Options (CILO), a nonprofit organization that empowers people with disabilities to live independent and inclusive lives in their communities. Prior to his role at CILO, Patrick earned his doctorate in Education Policy Studies at Indiana University, and previously also worked as a K-12 special education aide. Patrick has an older brother with autism, a mother who is a retired special educator, and a stepfather that served as a case manager for Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services for over 35 years.
Jeniece Jones, MPA, JD, became Executive Director at Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Greater Cincinnati (HOME) on July 1, 2015. HOME’s mission is to eliminate unlawful discrimination in housing in the Greater Cincinnati area. HOME advocates and enforces housing regulations for all protected classes and promotes stable, integrated communities. Before joining HOME, Ms. Jones was the Chief Executive Officer at Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati, a community fund focused on bringing awareness and fundraising to local community organizations working on social justice, economic justice, and environmental issues. Prior to that, Ms. Jones worked as an Ohio attorney dealing with civil matters. As a real estate attorney, she is familiar with residential and commercial real estate transactions. Ms. Jones is on the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Affordable Housing Advocates, the Human Services Chamber and the Housing Mediation Services.
Springs is the new Director of Enforcement for Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Cincinnati, Ohio. Previously, she worked for H.O.M.E. as the Client Services Specialist, and in those ten years, she has been very dedicated to HOME’s mission of having a housing market free of illegal discrimination. Her efforts have resulted in numerous reasonable accommodations for her disabled clients, many clients being able to remain in their housing, and she filed over 100 discrimination complaints on behalf of her clients, resulting in monetary settlements. Ms. Springs grew up in Cincinnati, just three blocks from the HOME office and comes from a family of fighters for justice and equality and that is where she got the tools that have made her successful as an advocate for housing rights. She has helped eleven hoarders retain their housing through HOME’s de-cluttering program. A program that she was instrumental in developing after identifying a need in Cincinnati where a team of cleaners got into the unit to help the clients de-cluttered and help them connect with professionals to change the behavior. She earned her B.A. Degree in Communication for the University of Cincinnati with a certificate in Public Relations.
Chad Siekman is the Testing & Investigations Coordinator for Housing Opportunities Made Equal. Housing Opportunities Made Equal is a non-profit fair housing organization located in Cincinnati, OH. Housing Opportunities Made Equal opened its doors shortly after the signing of the 1968 Civil Rights Act. Chad began his journey with Housing Opportunities Made Equal as a fair housing tester in the early 2000’s and then took the role of Testing & Investigations Coordinator in 2011. During a career that spans almost two decades in fair housing as a tester and then coordinator; Chad has created and implemented proven testing methodologies and investigative techniques.
Aaron Grant is a senior project manager at People Working Cooperatively in Cincinnati where he manages PWC’s volunteer involvement program and works on health-focused housing programs through PWC’s Whole Home Innovation Center. Aaron holds an M.A. in Public Service and is also a Lead Risk Assessor. Aaron has worked in the nonprofit housing sector for 11 years in the areas of home repair, accessibility and lead abatement, and provides direct services to low-income residents while coordinating the activities of more than 3,000 volunteers annually. Aaron also works on special research projects with local academic and health care organizations to explore the connections between housing and health, particularly issues related to asthma, lead poisoning and fall prevention.
Edward Cunningham is the Deputy Director of the Department of Buildings & Inspections with the City of Cincinnati, Ohio, He has worked and trained in the housing field for over 44 years; and for the last 34 years worked for the City in Property Maintenance Code Enforcement and Inspection (seven years with the City in the Department of Community Development as Code Enforcement Division Manager.) He is a past president of the Southwestern Ohio Building Officials Association, and is a Certified Building Official, Residential Building Official, and Building Inspector, in the State of Ohio. Ed has made presentations on Code Enforcement for the International Code Council; The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs in Minneapolis, as well as The International City/County Management Association international conference in Montreal Canada.
Count your have’s – not your have-not’s …that’s how I aim to live my life each and every day. And knowing that we have more ways to connect than ever, it’s vital to employ clear, concise and intentional communications. As part of the Communications team at Council on Aging, I am fortunate to support the area’s aging population through straight forward communication. My strengths include writing, content development, overall marketing strategies, time management and flexibility. During my career, I have communicated for Cincinnati Recreation Commission (on and off since 1999) and 4C for Children (2010-11). My Public Relations degree from Xavier University perfectly complements the never-ending support of my husband and two children.
Jeff Raser, AIA, is the owner of Cincinnati Urban Design and Architecture Studio (CUDA Studio). He has worked as an architect in a 30+ year career designing many project types. Jeff’s passion is the design of pedestrian-friendly environments. He has master-planned new communities, created urban design plans for existing urban neighborhoods, and created zoning codes (including form-based codes). Jeff has designed dozens of mixed-use and multi-family residential projects including both new buildings and rehabilitated historic ones. Jeff serves on several non-profit boards of directors including AIA Cincinnati and CNU Midwest.
Doug Gallow, AIA, a co-founder of Lifespan Design Studio located in Loveland, has more than forty years of experience in architectural design, with an extensive project resume in the planning and design of facilities across the country focusing on design-for-aging and universal design. He completed the Johns Hopkins University’s Certificate on Aging program and is an active member of the National Council on Aging/National Institute of Senior Centers. Doug frequently presents workshops and seminars on topics in universal/lifespan design at national and state conferences for aging services, design professionals, and students.
Jana Sansbury is an interior designer with Designs on Madison in Cincinnati, specializing in residential interiors since 2005. Whatever the project, her goal is the same: understand the client’s needs, determine how the space will be used, then create a comprehensive plan to outfit it beautifully and functionally. She believes the architectural adage “form follows function” applies to interior design as well, particularly when designing for people with disabilities. She has an adult son with autism, so understands the needs of that population well.