Recognizing Fair Housing Month 2017

April is Fair Housing Month, celebrating the 49th anniversary of the monumental Fair Housing Act of 1968 and observing the importance of eliminating housing discrimination in the United States.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has identified awareness as the core mission of 2017’s Fair Housing Month, and this year’s theme—Fair Housing Equals Opportunity—accentuates the relationship between housing equality and the chance to create a better life.

“Equal access to housing is a fundamental promise of America,” stated HUD Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Bryan Greene at a Fair Housing Month commencement event last week. “When access to housing is unfairly limited, it, in turn, limits access to good paying jobs, quality schools, and economic opportunity.”

“Familial status discrimination” is an issue on which HUD has expressed particular focus; of the more than 8,000 fair housing complaints the agency received last year, approximately 12 percent were from families with children.

Housing discrimination can effectively keep Americans stagnant, unable to move ahead. By the same token, fair access to housing can help people lead stable lives, contributing to their success and that of future generations. Yet discrimination and redlining remain a serious problem.

The recently released State of Asia America 2016 report reveals that Asian American renters and buyers are shown fewer units and homes than whites, and a HUD report shows that 1 in 5 AAPIs experience discrimination in the rental and home buying process. Unfair biases of this nature, endured by Americans from various backgrounds, create unjust practices impeding their progress.

Redlining is one of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) top focus points in 2017, and the bureau is teaming up with the Department of Justice to make enforcement actions possible and provide millions of dollars in relief to consumers who have been adversely affected by these discriminatory practices.

If you feel you have experienced housing discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at www.hud.gov/fairhousing or (800) 669-9777.

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