April 24, 2024 – The City of Fort Wayne’s Metropolitan Human Relations Commission and Office of Housing & Neighborhood Services hosted the 2024 Fair Housing Summit today held at the Memorial Coliseum Conference Center, 4000 Parnell Ave.

The annual event featured keynote speaker Joshua V. Barr, Esq., Chief Strategist and President of Raising the Barr, LLC. Barr released the Emmy award-winning documentary Breaking Bread, Building Bridges, which featured nearly 40 strangers who were paired based on their differences to share dinners over several months. Barr revitalized the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission, preventing its closure and making it an integral part of the local government. He launched the Bridging the Gap project, promoting community dialogues that led to nearly 30 new policies promoting opportunity and justice citywide. Barr is renowned for his belief in internal change and works tirelessly with organizations, communities, and individuals to foster holistic improvement.

More than 400 people registered for the event. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from fair housing experts during various workshops. The topics of these workshops included:

  • How Realtors are Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing
  • Innovative Housing Panel
  • Not Your Grandparents Suburbs
  • Common Fair Housing Violations Involving People of Color
  • Harassment, Intimidation, and Hate Crimes - the Impact of Fair Housing Laws
  • Disability Legal Update
  • Discussing Solutions to Address Housing Inequities

The Gold sponsors for the event were Premier Bank and UPSTAR Upstate Alliance of REALTORS®,  along with Silver sponsors First Source Bank and Old National Bank and Bronze sponsors Lake City Bank.

Fort Wayne Metro’s mission is to enforce civil rights laws and empower the citizens of Fort Wayne through education on diversity and discrimination issues. The City’s Office of Housing & Neighborhood Services works to attract and support housing investment throughout the community and expand access to safe, quality, affordable housing. The department also partners with local non-profit organizations to address critical needs in the community.