Mar 01

Contest due April 24

[Illustration by Ava Kendrick, YWP Library]
There are laws preventing discrimination and inequity in housing, and yet decent, affordable shelter remains out of reach for many people. As part of National Fair Housing Month (April), write about your community or your state in the context of housing justice.
Prizes: 1st: $75; 2nd: $50; 3rd: $25.
Deadline: Friday, April 24, 2020
THE CHALLENGES: Belong; Shelter; Justice
You can respond to one or all three challenges – as often as you like. To get started, log into your YWP account (or sign up for an account), click the challenge title, click respond, fill in title, genre, and body of post. And save.
1. BELONG: Imagine a community where everyone is welcome and all people can afford their houses or apartments, no matter their circumstances. What would this community look and feel like? Do you know of any communities like this? If not, why don't they exist and what could be done to make them a reality?
2. SHELTER: Where is home for you? What physical or emotional space makes you feel sheltered, safe, “at home?” OR begin or end with this phrase: “Under the shelter of my roof …”
3. JUSTICE: Despite the federal and state fair housing laws, many Vermonters experience discrimination and don’t have access to quality, affordable homes. What is the impact of this inequity on the state? 

BACKGROUND: The Federal Fair Housing Act was signed into law on April 11, 1968 after a long political and social struggle. The act states that it is illegal to discriminate in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability. Vermont has additional protections based on age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, receipt of public assistance, and abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. These protections are intended to prevent discrimination, reverse historical patterns of housing segregation, and provide equal access to housing opportunity for all.

  • This contest is for youth writers only.
  • Work must be original and unpublished.
  • All genres welcome, including poetry, prose, essays, lyrics.
  • Maximum word limit: 500
  • Writers must have an account on to participate (it's easy to join!) or teachers may submit on behalf of students and include writer's name on each submission. Contact Susan Reid at [email protected] with any questions.
  • Prizes will be announced in the May issue of The Voice, and on the YWP site May 1.
  • Publication: The Voice, newspaper series, and Fair Housing Project and Thriving Communities sites and social media publications
  • Contest Sponsor: CVOEO (Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity)
  • Deadline reminder: Friday, April 24, 2020

THANK YOU to YWP's partner organization CVOEO!
This contest was made possible by the Fair Housing Project of CVOEO through a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
For a full schedule of Fair Housing Month events and activities, visit
Event Date: 
Friday, April 24, 2020