National Fair Housing Month: How Do You Celebrate?

Lyndon Johnson (signing) Walter Mondale (Looking over Left)

National Fair Housing Month was created to raise awareness of fair housing issues and provide education, information, and resources to combat discrimination in housing.

The month of April has been set aside every year since 1970 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as National Fair Housing Month, with the goal to maintain and expand upon the country’s commitment to fair housing for all, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, disability or national origin. How do you celebrate? Here are three ways you can join the celebration

What Is National Fair Housing Month?

National Fair Housing Month is an annual observance in April that reminds us of our national commitment to fair housing. The month-long celebration raises awareness about housing discrimination and explores ways to combat it, so everyone has a fair chance at renting or buying a home. National Fair Housing Month also serves as a reminder that all Americans have a right to be treated equally when it comes to housing opportunities. No one should be denied access because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. This year’s theme for National Fair Housing Month is Everyone Deserves A Place To Call Home.

What Is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing based on certain characteristics, including race, religion, gender, and disability. It has been in place since 1968 to ensure all Americans have equal access to housing opportunities regardless of their backgrounds. April has been officially recognized as National Fair Housing Month since 1987 by an act of Congress. The goal is to raise awareness of fair housing and efforts taken by communities across America to secure it for all citizens. There are many ways you can celebrate Fair Housing Month throughout your community. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Where Does Discrimination Still Occur?

While housing discrimination has been illegal since 1968, that doesn’t mean it never happens. Discrimination occurs when a landlord or real estate agent refuses to sell or rent a property to an individual because of his or her race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and/or familial status. (i.e., you have children) A landlord may not be allowed to refuse to rent out a property based on these reasons. It is also illegal for landlords to set different terms, conditions or privileges for the sale or rental of a property based on any of these characteristics. If you believe that you are being discriminated against in your search for housing, please contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.

Why Is it Important to Treat Everyone Equally?

The only way we can achieve real estate equality is by making sure everyone gets a fair shot. This includes putting an end to discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. It’s not fair when certain people are denied certain opportunities just because of who they are or what they believe in. As one woman once said, Fair housing isn’t just about race or color; it’s about the opportunity. That opportunity should be open to everyone! We should all have access to a safe home and safe neighborhood. By being educated about fair housing laws, you can help make that happen for your community.

Are There Any Exceptions to FHA Rules?

As described above, a home seller is not allowed to discriminate against a potential buyer based on race, color, religion, gender, or nationality. However, there are some exceptions to these laws that can lead property owners to treat buyers differently. In fact, most people don’t realize there are some exceptions under fair housing law! Let’s take a look at three of them here:

In many cases, sellers and landlords may use income as an acceptable way to screen applicants for their properties. If you live in an area where housing prices are high and incomes are low, it may be difficult for you to sell your house if you do not accept all types of buyers.

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If you have additional information, my audience and I would love to hear about it. Tell us about it in the reply.