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Tampa, Florida - A leadership banquet was held in Tampa Saturday eveningto recognize those who care deeply about fair housing.

Dozensof people enjoyed dinner, jazz, and conversation at the Sheraton Suites on Cypress Street in Tampathanks to the Bay Area Association of Realtists (NAREB).

NAREB was founded in Tampa back in 1947. It's the oldest and largest minority real estate trade organization in the country and it wascreated during segregation so all people of color would have a chance at home ownership. Danny Felton is the regional vice president of theorganization. He says it was during atime when people of color were simply left out of the process.

Felton says, "They were not classified as realtors. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers trademarked a name called 'realtists' so many people wonder why we call ourselves realtists, but there's a lot of history that goes into that.It goes back to 1947 and it starts right here in Tampa."

Rebecca Lopez is the Director of Education and Outreach for the Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS. Lopez received a humanitarian award.

Aidza Antonio-Thomas is the Executive Director of Solita's House which is a non-profit organization that helps low and moderateincome individuals buy or retain their homes. The organization provides home buying education, credit counseling, financial literacy, foreclosure intervention, default counseling and home retention programs.Thomas received a community service award.

The keynote speaker during the event was Ed Jennings Jr. He's the Region IV regional administratorforthe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Jennings isfrom East Tampafrom a family of 14 and he spoke to the crowdabout the importance of home ownership, having good credit, and getting free help to buy a home from our local HUD approved housing agencies.

There are severalnon profit HUD approved housing agencies in the Bay area.Neighborhood Home Solutions is located at 1600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Street South in St. Petersburg.TheTampa Bay Community Development Corporation is located at 2139 N.E. Coachman Road Suite 1 in Clearwater.Click here for a list of HUD approved housing agencies in Florida.

10 News Anchor Tammie Fields was honored to serve as the mistress of ceremony for the event.

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