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The Fair Housing Center and the City of Toledo's Department of Economic and Community Development annually co-sponsor a neighborhood tour showcasing a variety of Toledo's communities, including areas served by some of the city's Community Development Corporations (CDC's). Housing industry professionals, representing real estate, title and insurance companies, CDC's, neighborhood associations, city officials, fair housing advocates, and banks attend the tour.

Tour participants have a chance to view new housing and commercial developments and rehabilitation projects, experience the positive changes in Toledo's urban landscape, learn about opportunities to expand market presence, and network with members of Toledo's neighborhood development team and neighborhood organizations. The goal is to show people in the housing industry as well as commercial developers that there are many exciting projects and opportunities in Toledo's central city.

Another objective of the tour is to make professionals in the housing industry aware of equal housing opportunities and to help increase the availability of services in urban neighborhoods. Professionals in the housing industry should be affirmatively marketing all neighborhoods, and this tour gives them up to date exposure to the opportunities in the urban market. Other goals include encouraging those in attendance to become involved in the revitalization efforts and promoting partnerships between representatives of the various components of the housing industry.

The theme of this year's program is, "We're Glad You're Here in the Neighborhoods." The event, slated for September 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., will begin with a complimentary continental breakfast followed by a seminar. Lisa Rice and Ricardo King of the Fair Housing Center will discuss predatory lending issues. Predatory lending--whether undertaken by creditors, brokers, or even home improvement contractors--involves engaging in abusive and/or deceptive lending practices, manipulating the borrower through aggressive sales tactics, or taking unfair advantage of a borrower's lack of understanding about loan terms.

Predatory loans benefit the lender more than the consumer, and often lead to foreclosure. Lucas County and the City of Toledo have experienced a surge in foreclosures over the past few years. Pitfalls associated with predatory lending will be discussed in detail.

After the seminar, attendees board buses to take a tour highlighting revitalization efforts in Toledo's central city. Lunch will be provided following the tour. Three continuing education credits for REALTORS(r) are pending. To make reservations, call Betty Galloway, Department of Economic and Community Development, (419) 245-1439. There is no cost to attend, unless you are attending for continuing education credits. There is a $20 fee for processing continuing education credits.

The Women of the Old West End and several other concerned citizens and organizations established the Fair Housing Center in 1975 to combat discriminatory practices in housing that were destroying Toledo's neighborhoods. Since its inception, the Center has investigated over 8,000 allegations of housing discrimination, recovered over $27 million in damages for the victims and demonstrated a talent for setting national precedents that have expanded housing opportunities for millions of Americans across the country.

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