HUD: We Will Now Fully Enforce FHA to Prohibit LGBT Discrimination

Sexual orientation and gender identity are now officially included in “sex” discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. While our office has been acting under this assumption for decades, we both applaud and are hopeful for what this official declaration means for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming community members. 

Jeanine M. Worden, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity, announced last Friday that HUD is the first federal agency to formally implement President Biden’s Executive Order 13988 on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.

“Under the President’s Order, and in collaboration with HUD’s Office of General Counsel, we have concluded that the Fair Housing Act… prohibits sex discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity,” wrote Worden. “HUD-funded housing discrimination studies indicate that same-sex couples and transgender persons in communities across the country experience demonstrably less favorable treatment than their straight and cisgender counterparts when seeking rental housing.”

The Memo also directs all HUD offices and recipients of HUD funds to enforce the Act accordingly.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development memo 

Urban Institute’s paired-testing study on same-sex couples and transgender individuals

Sexual Orientation and Housing Discrimination in Michigan, Michigan Fair Housing Centers

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REALTORS® Stand Up Against Housing Discrimination

The Ann Arbor Area Board of REALTORS® (AAABoR) is partnering with the Fair Housing Center to support the 2021 REALTORS® for Fair Housing Campaign

“We are asking local REALTORS® to publicly pledge their support for the letter and the spirit of fair housing law,” said Tom Renkert, Chief Executive Officer, Ann Arbor Area Board of REALTORS®. “We understand what an important role REALTORS® have in ending discrimination, and we stand by our Code of Ethics and commitment to diverse communities.”

Interested REALTORS® can visit this link to read more about the campaign and take a stand against discrimination in housing. Or, go directly to the google form to sign on now!

Funds raised from this investment go to supporting the Fair Housing Center’s mission to end discrimination in housing and public accommodations and to promote accessible, integrated communities.

This April, the nation will be celebrating the 52nd Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. This landmark civil rights legislation was the result of years of individual and collective struggle against discrimination in sales, rental, financing and other housing-related transactions. The Act now protects the buyer or renter of a dwelling from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.

Read the full press release here.

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New Section 8 Housing Voucher Protections

The City of Ann Arbor and the City of Ypsilanti have both recently changed their non-discrimination ordinances to specifically include housing vouchers (section 8) in the protected class of source of income. Citizens who feel they have been illegally denied a housing opportunity due to their housing voucher can contact the Fair Housing Center at 877-979-3247 or complaints@fhcmichigan.org.

Links to both ordinances are on our website at fhcmichigan.org/what-we-do/about-the-law

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Criminal Background and Housing Info

“We have a ‘no felony’ policy.”
“If you served time in the last 20 years, we won’t take you.”
“We don’t even look at an application if you have a criminal record.”
“Arrested? You can’t live here.”

If you’ve heard any of those statements (or others), call the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan at 877-979-FAIR (3247) or email complaints@fhcmichigan.org. We are ready to help and all of our services are free. www.fhcmichigan.org/background

Federal laws do not currently prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of criminal background or arrest record. However, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acknowledges the widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system and therefore criminal history-based restrictions pertaining to housing are likely to disproportionately burden African Americans, Latinos, and other people of color.

While the Act does not prohibit housing providers from appropriately considering criminal history information when making housing decisions, the use of arbitrary and overbroad criminal history-related restrictions or bans are likely to lack a legally sufficient justification and can be as discriminatory. If you think you have experienced housing discrimination or have a question about fair housing, call us at 877-979-3247.

picture of "for rent" sign
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2020 FHC Newsletter Available Now

12/16/2020

By now you should have received our latest newsletter at your home or business. If you haven’t*, or you’d like to see the digital color version, you can view it online right now. Highlights include information on recently filed cases, disability rights success stories, and general updates. If you find the Fair Housing Center’s work compelling, please share our newsletter or social media and help spread the word. Thank you!

*Didn’t get a printed copy and want one? Have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you at info@fhcmichigan.org

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