Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST Training Program
There are approximately 119 million renter and owner households in the U.S., with nearly one third in multifamily buildings of four or more units that are subject to Fair Housing Act requirements.
As part of the HUD-sponsored Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST initiative managed by LCM, we conduct a technical guidance/training program to educate professionals in the building industry about requirements of the FHA Guidelines and best practices for compliance. Training sessions are open to the public and free of charge.
Attendees include architects, developers, property owners/managers, project managers, contractors, local building officials, engineers, civil engineers, landscape architects, attorneys, disability and housing advocates, enforcement officials, housing program specialists, testers, and anyone with a stake in the development and operation of multifamily real estate.
Our annual program typically consists of 10 day-long, live trainings presented in each HUD region throughout the U.S. There are 11 modules in the live training curriculum, addressing technical issues, disability rights laws, and FHA enforcement. To supplement the live trainings and reach more attendees, LCM launched a series of four 90 minute lunch time webinars. Participants can earn HSW CEUs from the AIA.
Judging from the increasing number of training attendees, the building industry is eager for information that affects property accessibility performance. In 2011 we had an average of 65 people per live training. Now we typically have more than 110 attendees per training and reach nearly 2,100 people a year.
Not surprisingly, the convenience of webinars – shorter duration, no travel time or expenses – has attracted a larger audience than live trainings. A wider outreach effort has resulted in a dramatic uptick of 1,201% in attendance from the webinar series in Spring 2017 to the series in Fall 2017.
Because we want to constructively impact as many eligible housing units as possible, we collect data from training attendees about the number of units for which they are responsible.
The 10 live trainings we presented during the 2016-2017 contract year recorded 338,863 units advised on. The four webinars conducted in Spring 2017 during that contract year yielded 455,178 housing units advised on. As the number of webinar attendees increased in the Fall 2017 series, so too did the number of units advised on – a dramatic increase to 5,260,293 units.
The FHA FIRST Trainings, conducted by LCM, reach more than 2,000 people a year responsible for a total of more than 5,000,000 housing units.
That statistical leap is encouraging. We intend to grow and guide our audience with the expectation that more informed influencers and practitioners in the design and building community will take the path toward FHA compliance and a more accessible multi-family housing stock.
Email KSalmon@lcmarchitects.com for more information on Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST, including training locations and schedules.
This post was written by John Ritzu, RA