HUD Celebrates Fair Housing Month

To celebrate Fair Housing Month, HUD marked the 49th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. HUD says that law goes to the heart of Americans’ daily lives by ensuring equal protection under the law is reflected in the nation’s housing.

While great progress has been made in the years since the law was passed, HUD says that discrimination persists. Last year, HUD and its state and local Fair Housing Assistance Program partner agencies received more than 8,300 complaints alleging some form of discrimination. More than half of those complaints, 59 percent, alleged discrimination based on disability. Race was the next highest basis, at 26 percent of complaints. National origin was the third most common basis, at 11 percent, and familial status was the fourth highest category of complaint, with nearly 11 percent.

HUD says it’s no longer that common for a person to be told she can’t rent an apartment or buy a house because she uses a wheelchair or because she is black or because she comes from another country (though sometimes that still happens, too.) But the subtle discrimination that is common today still keeps too many people and families out of the housing of their choice.

HUD says the value of strong families is also recognized in the Fair Housing Act, and since 1988 the law has prohibited discrimination against families with children under the age of 18. The law also applies to expectant mothers and those in the process of adopting.

For families with children, one of the most common examples of discrimination is ads that explicitly say, “No kids,” or landlords discouraging families from renting, claiming that the site is “not safe” for children. In addition, housing managers sometimes impose overly restrictive rules on families with children, such as saying or implying kids can’t play outside.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity promised to continue to spread awareness and educate families and communities about their fair housing rights. Through an array of enforcement activities, fair housing policy initiatives, and education and outreach efforts, HUD said that it’s taking appropriate action against individuals and housing providers that discriminate, implementing rules and guidance that further fair housing, and educating the public about their fair housing rights and what to do if they believe those rights have been violated.

Source: HUD (HUDdle)