Fall, 2010 A- Term
Internship in Sociology
November 14, 2010
A Sociological View of a Non-Profit Organization: Fair Housing Internship
This paper will provide an analysis of an internship performed at the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center (CAFHC), Montgomery, Alabama. This paper will give an overview of the internship program and its requirements, the history of the Fair Housing Act, a sociological review of fair housing, and discuss the responsibilities and observations made during the internship. To qualify for the Sociology Internship Program, a student had to be an undergraduate working toward a degree in Social Sciences. The program was designed to provide qualified undergraduate students with experiences in a government, non-profit, or public service institutions under the supervision of a faculty member.
The internship consisted of conducting tasks assigned by the agency supervisor, maintaining a journal describing activities performed and explanations of how they related to sociology, recording personal feelings about the experiences, a ten page paper related to the internship experience and working 150 hours at the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center. The objective of the internship was to have the student apply skills and knowledge learned during completion of social science coursework and, to work in a non-profit agency under the supervision of a faculty member.
The methods of evaluating the internship included meeting twice a month with the instructor/advisor and discussing journal entries, being evaluated by the agency supervisor for work performance, evaluation by the instructor and writing an internship research paper due by December 7, 2010. History of the Fair Housing Act
On April 4, 1968, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated. This act unleashed a firestorm of civil unrest in urban communities across the nation (Fair Housing Report, 2008). A week to the day after King’s assassination, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the federal Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968). This law, co-sponsored by Senator Walter Mondale and Edward Brooke, had been languishing in Congress for two years and only passed because of the response to the assassination and subsequent events (National Fair Housing Alliance, 2008).
In 1988, the law was amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act, co-sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy and Arlen Specter. This law significantly strengthened the enforcement power of the Act, giving the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Justice the authority to enforce and expand the reach of the law while still providing for private enforcement mechanism (NFHA, 2008). The Fair Housing Act is now one of the most powerful tools in our civil rights arsenal but it can only be as effective as the skilled application and intent of the user of this tool (NFHA, 2008).
Sociological Review of Fair Housing
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has defined the term “fair housing choice” as the ability of a persons of similar income levels to have the same available housing choice regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or disability (Analysis of Impediment to Fair Housing Choice, 2004). The Central Alabama Fair Housing Center is a non-profit agency, working to ensure equal housing opportunities for all people regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (having or expecting children), or disability.
Discrimination occurs when housing providers treat people differently because of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental, sales, mortgage lending, and home insurance markets. Illegal practices include guiding people to or away from a neighborhood or areas based on race (steering),...