Sonia Gutierrez, Fair Housing Program Coordinator (Bilingual) D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development

Sonia Gutierrez has been a civil rights advocate since 1993 and has focused on fair housing issues since 1995. In 2001, she joined the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development’s to create the agency’s fair housing program and serve as the link to the Latino and immigrant populations of the District.  As the agency’s Bilingual Fair Housing Program Coordinator, Ms. Gutierrez was responsible for developing, planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the agency’s fair housing program, and for ensuring that DHCD funded programs were in compliance with fair housing and equal opportunity laws.  Under Ms. Gutierrez’ fair housing leadership, the agency was awarded three FHIP (Fair Housing Initiatives Program) grants for education and outreach to immigrant and underserved communities for three years. The fair housing partnerships created in the government, non-profit and private since then have ensured that stakeholders are knowledgeable of the agency services and of fair housing rights and responsibilities.  Ms. Gutierrez has also established an agency wide fair housing and accessibility certification process for funding recipients as well as mandatory yearly Accessibility and FHEO training to ensure recipients are well informed and compliant with the accessibility and equal housing opportunity regulations.

Prior to joining DHCD, Sonia was the Director of the D.C. Fair Housing Center – a branch of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington, now the Equal Rights Center. There she coordinated and executed several race based studies and implemented the research technique and methodology for the Fair Housing Index Study, a four year systemic study totaling over 300 rental and sales tests in the metropolitan area.

In 1993, Sonia entered District government as a Bilingual Equal Opportunity Specialist for the D.C. Office of Human Rights where she mainly investigated employment and public accommodations discrimination complaints. She was principally responsible for translating the agency’s complaint forms and other agency documentation into Spanish, and designed and provided EEO workshops for the Latino community.  Ms. Gutierrez holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) - Criminal Justice and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Baltimore and has completed PhD course work on Industrial Organizational Psychology.