The North Texas Fair Housing Center works with the federal fair housing laws to assist clients who have been the victims of housing discrimination. The goal of the fair housing laws is to give people the ability to choose where they would like to live. The hope was that this would lead to more integrated neighborhoods. The Federal Fair Housing Act was passed by Congress in 1968 with protections for race, color, religion, and national origin. It was amended in 1974 to add sex (gender) and in 1988 to include protections for people with disabilities and families with children under 18 (familial status).
This year, fair housing advocates across the country will celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Sadly, only half of Americans know that the fair housing laws exist. A 2002 study by HUD found that only 51% of Americans are aware of fair housing protections. Even more disconcerting, the vast majority of Americans who experience housing discrimination donít report it. Only 2% of people who experience housing discrimination seek assistance or file a complaint.
Having a safe place to call home is a fundamental building block for life. For that reason, housing discrimination, whether based on race, sexual orientation or because you are a person with a disability, is probably the most consequential form of discrimination. Without housing it is almost impossible to find a job, get an education, or participate in a community. While the fair housing laws are a powerful tool to end housing discrimination, there is so much work yet to be done.
What can you do to help?
North Texas Fair Housing Center