NFHA Releases 2013 Fair Housing Trends Report
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) recently released its 2013 Fair Housing Trends Report, “Modernizing the Fair Housing Act for the 21st Century.”
The report finds a rise in the number of housing discrimination complaints with a marked spike in harassment complaints—up 35 percent from last year’s numbers. In 2012, private nonprofit fair housing organizations, HUD, the Justice Department, and state and local government agencies investigated 28,519 complaints, including claims based on race, national origin, disability, sex, and having children in the home.
The report also found a spike in complaints by people not protected under federal fair housing law, which NFHA says highlights the need for a federal ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, source of income, and marital status.
“It’s high time to amend the Fair Housing Act to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity as well as source of income,” Shanna L. Smith, NFHA’s President and CEO, said in a statement. “The Fair Housing Act has been amended over the years to adapt to changing times. It’s time for the federal government to catch up with the states doing the right thing and to protect all people from housing discrimination.”
Housing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is still legal in most states. According to the report, 22 states and the District of Columbia protect against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation; 16 states and the District have protections for gender identity.
The report also pointed out that landlords and other housing providers in 38 states can still discriminate against a family simply because of their source of income, even if they can afford the home. Legal source of income can come from alimony, child support, government assistance from Veterans Affairs and HUD, and many other sources. According to the NFHA report, this discrimination hits low-income people the hardest; the worst hit are low-income women and families, people of color, and people with disabilities.
“If a family qualifies for an apartment and can pay for it, they should get it,” continued Smith. “It’s simple economics. Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act passed on April 11, 1968, one week to the day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Dr. King knew that poverty was the next frontier to fight when he began his Poor People’s Campaign at the end of his life. Congress should honor the memory of Dr. King and modernize the Fair Housing Act for the 21st century.”
To view NFHA’s 2013 trends report as well as graphics including U.S. maps with state law information, visit www.nationalfairhousing.org.
Source: National Fair Housing Alliance
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