April is Fair Housing Month, and the 2021 Fair Housing Month campaign organized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development has a theme; Fair Housing: More Than Just Words.
It’s meant to call attention to Fair Housing law in America, the rights of all house hunters and potential renters, and why discrimination in the housing industry is still a serious issue.
This year’s theme is meant as a commitment “to advancing equity in housing and the importance of increasing public awareness of everyone’s right to fair housing” according to a press release issued by HUD official site.
All Americans have the right to equal access to affordable and safe housing. HUD Secretary Martha Fudge says even in a time where there is greater attention on Fair Housing type issues, the problem is just as pervasive as ever.
“Fair Housing Month is a time to recommit to our nation’s obligation to ensure that everyone has equal access to safe, affordable housing,” Fudge said in a HUD press release.
Fudge adds, “Unfortunately, housing discrimination still exists, from individuals and families being denied a place to call home because of the color of their skin or where they come from, to landlords refusing to allow persons with disabilities to keep assistance animals, to individuals being denied a place to live because of who they love.”
Fifty-plus years after the Fair Housing Act was signed, the HUD push to end Fair Housing violations continues; this year among the key features of Fair Housing Month is a pledge to end housing discrimination.
HUD wants to offer Fair Housing assistance for anyone who has experienced housing discrimination, to eliminate racial bias and other forms of discrimination in “all stages of home-buying and renting, and to secure equal access to housing opportunity for all” according to the press release.
Housing discrimination in 2020 was a serious issue–according to official sources, HUD took nearly eight thousand complaints of housing discrimination based on non-financial factors such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability.
During the reporting period, the highest number of complaints were in the categories of disability and race.
There are also indications of lending discrimination “as well as numerous complaints from women who faced unfair treatment” up to and including sexual harassment.
In Fair Housing cases, often the only power to end continued discrimination lies with the victims of that discrimination. Those who report the Fair Housing violations they have experienced can help put a stop to future violations–those who don’t report discrmination in the housing industry enable further violations of the law.
Do you need to file a complaint about discrimination at any stage of the housing process? Contact the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed online at hud.gov/fair housing.