A note from our Associate Director, 4/29/2022
You may know that April is National Fair Housing Month, when advocates across the country celebrate the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. We’re reminded each April of the hard work and sacrifices made before us that allow us to continue the fight toward ending housing discrimination.
While it may be the end of the month, our work continues year-round. The Fair Housing Act holds the promise of equal and equitable access to housing, paths to homeownership, and ending discrimination in housing based on the federally-protected classes in the FHA: race, color, religion, national origin, sex*, disability, and familial status (the presence of children). But, as you know, the FHA is not self-enforcing.
Our country still has a long way to go to fulfill these promises and rectify decades of segregation and policies that have harmed so many. However, thanks to supporters like you, we continue making strides on local, state, and federal levels that aim to make a real, lasting positive impact.
The Fair Housing Center contributes to the pursuit of these ideals by enforcing the Act. Over the last two years, our office has taken a record number (358) new fair housing complaints. We resolved six fair housing lawsuits with total settlements of approximately $54,000 for complainants. Two of these cases involved race and criminal background, two others were based on having children in the household (both involving solo mothers), and two were disability-related. These efforts resulted in the opening up of over 360 rental units free from discrimination and policy changes at two apartment complexes.
At the same time, we helped ensure that 18 people with disabilities throughout our service area were granted the reasonable accommodations necessary to provide them equitable access to housing, including ramps, reserved parking spaces, and emotional support animals.
Our work doesn’t stop there. We continue to make hundreds of non-fair housing referrals to other agencies each year; field fair housing-related questions from attorneys, advocates, and government staff; train social service providers, provide education and outreach to the broader community; and conduct hundreds of investigations on our complaints.
I am really proud of the work that we do here and I know we make an impact on individuals, and the housing landscape, in our 10-county area and beyond. That our work has far-reaching effects is important to me because of the possibility of truly bringing home the promise of the Fair Housing Act.
In peace and justice,
Kristen Cuhran Fuller
* Thanks to clarification by the Biden Administration, sex discrimination protections now officially include sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression. The Act continues to provide protection against sexual harassment in housing.