Winners of Fair Housing Leadership Award Announced


Connie Der Torossian, Media Relations 714/569-0823 x 217 or 714/313-8699 (cell) or
Elizabeth Pierson, President/CEO, 714/569-0825


Six Leaders in the Housing Industry Receive Accolades For Their Work to Promote Fair Housing in OC

SANTA ANA, CALIF., May 5, 2004…The Fair Housing Council of Orange County announced the winners of its prestigious Fair Housing Leadership Award at the 4th Annual Fair Housing Leadership Awards Luncheon held on April 30 at the Turnip Rose in Costa Mesa, Calif. The Fair Housing Leadership Award honors individuals and organizations who have taken positive action to foster diversity and eliminate housing discrimination in Orange County. Fair Housing Leadership Awards were presented to six individuals and organizations in various segments of the housing industry for making significant contributions that support the spirit and letter of Fair Housing laws which they have demonstrated through deeds, business policies, or other means. Fair Housing Leadership Awards were presented to the following organizations and individuals: - Lyon Management Companies - Rental Housing Industry - Pulte Homes - Home Building Industry - Eric Gramberg, Director of Real Estate Advertising, Los Angeles Times - Advertising Industry - Carrie Morelan, Shea Properties - Individual Category - Jeanne Luong, Excel Real Estate - Real Estate Sales Industry - Wells Fargo - Lending Industry

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, 47th District, was the keynote speaker at the event. In addition to recognizing the winners for their outstanding accomplishments in promoting Fair Housing in Orange County, she spoke about the importance of owning a home and how fair housing factors into that dream. "Fair housing is an important part of making sure that everyone has equal access to housing and the opportunity to realize the dream of homeownership," she said. "Congratulations to all the winners of the Fair Housing Leadership Awards for your important work that ensures this dream can become a reality."

Lyon Management Companies was selected as the winner of the Rental Housing category for being a longstanding and dedicated supporter of the Fair Housing Council and a founding member of the Fair Housing Partners' program. In addition, staff members receive fair housing training on a regular basis and they are quick to contact the Fair Housing Council if they have questions regarding fair housing compliance. If a complaint arises, they respond quickly and conduct an objective investigation while working to find a fair resolution of the problem. They also produce and disseminate a fair housing newsletter to educate all their managers about complying with fair housing laws.

Pulte Homes won the Leadership Award in the Home Building category because they are an equal opportunity homebuilder dedicated to designing and building housing that is adaptable to individuals of all ages by offering a range of features for those with unique challenges. Its current project, Bella Rosa, is one of the first to offer Universal Design Elements which are a variety of standard and optional conveniences to accommodate individuals with changing lifestyles and physical challenges. In addition, they display the equal housing opportunity logo on all of their marketing materials and they list an equal opportunity statement on their website.

Eric Gramberg, director of Real Estate Advertising for the Los Angeles Times, was selected as the winner in the Advertising category for consistently encouraging housing providers to abide by fair housing laws and assisting them in maintaining fair housing compliant media campaigns. He's been active in the Southern California Real Estate Advertising industry for more than 20 years and has been promoting fair housing for about that same time. Working with the Civil Rights Division of HUD, DFEH, as well as other newspaper agencies and fair housing groups, he has guided, hosted and funded the Southern California Advertising Task Force. In addition, he has encouraged and supported fair housing education by sponsoring events and placing free fair housing ads.

Carrie Morelan, training manager for Shea Properties was selected as the winner in the Individual category. As the training manager, she takes a personal stake in ensuring that the organization's 19 apartment communities, totaling over 7,000 units are committed to promoting and protecting fair housing and equal opportunities. She ensures every property manager receives comprehensive fair housing training. She also ensures that every property displays equal opportunity and fair housing signage. If a question comes up, she is quick to call the Fair Housing Council to determine the best course of action and the necessary steps to resole the matter equitably and promptly.

Jeanne Luong of Excel Real Estate was selected as the winner of the Real Estate Sales category for her work promoting fair housing events and seminars. She currently chairs the Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity Committee for the Orange County Assoc. of Realtors and she is directly involved in promoting fair housing education to the organization's members through events and specialized trainings. In addition, she strives to promote diversity in the membership of the organization.

Wells Fargo was selected as the winner in the Lending Industry category because they have a long standing record of supporting and advocating Fair Housing and fair lending practices. Wells Fargo has also received a triple "Outstanding" rating with CRA regulators. In addition, it has committed over $2 million in philanthropic giving last year in Orange County to promote homeownership and affordable housing programs for low-income individuals. This includes affordable housing organizations such as the Kennedy Commission, Affordable Housing Clearinghouse, Neighborhood Housing Services and the Fair Housing Council of Orange County.

April is National Fair Housing Month and the Awards Luncheon is just one way the Fair Housing Council of Orange County celebrates this important month. Sponsors of the event included Platinum Sponsor: The First American Corporation; Gold Sponsors: Irvine Apartment Communities, Los Angeles Times, and PI&I Management; Silver Sponsors: Apartment Association of Orange County, Arnel Management, FountainGlen Properties, Orange County Association of Realtors, Standard Pacific Homes, Wells Fargo, and William Lyon Property Management; and Bronze Sponsors: KTGY Group, OC Register Rental Division, Satellite Property Management, Shea Homes and South Coast Apartment Association.

About the Fair Housing Council of Orange County The Fair Housing Council of Orange County is a private non-profit organization formed in 1965 in the wake of the civil rights movement that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agency incorporated in 1968, the same year that Congress extended civil rights protections to cover housing with the adoption of the Fair Housing Act. Under the direction of a 14-member volunteer board of directors and with a paid staff of 14, it works to fulfill a mission of protecting the quality of life in Orange County by ensuring equal access to housing opportunities, fostering diversity and preserving dignity and human rights. Contracting with all of Orange County's local governments to provide fair housing services for their residents, the agency provides comprehensive community education, individual counseling, mediation, low-cost advocacy and handles more than 1,000 issues concerning housing discrimination in the county each year. The Fair Housing Council also recently expanded its services to include comprehensive educational programs for housing providers, property managers, lenders, real estate professionals and consumers. The Fair Housing Council is also a HUD certified counseling agency and provides about 275 community outreach presentations annually. For more information, call 800/698-FAIR or 714/569-0823 or visit ###