What Is Fair Housing?
Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, handicap, familial status, or sexual orientation. It also requires public accommodations to make reasonable accommodations to enable people to participate in, and benefit from, fair housing practices. The law also protects people against harassment due to race, gender, age, handicap, or familial status.
Discrimination in the United States started after the abolition of slavery generally as a result of the “Jim Crow Laws” which enforced racial discrimination in public buildings. The Fair Housing Act was enacted in order to prevent housing discrimination in areas such as public schools, housing projects, and other facilities. After the enactment of this law in 1968, it became harder for minorities and others to obtain mortgages, insurance, and rental assistance in housing. Additionally, the Act made it illegal to deny housing to individuals or families based on their income, religion, political beliefs, and disability.
In recent years, there has been an increased concern and focus on fair housing by individuals and organizations. As a result of this increased awareness of this issue, HUD issued an enforcement plan to provide information to HUD-approved housing authorities regarding violations of fair housing laws. Although many federal agencies have made attempts to enforce the Act through their enforcement procedures, some local authorities are even more lax when it comes to enforcing the law. Therefore, fair housing is not always well enforced at the state level.
Because these national laws are not universally applied, some states, cities, and counties have taken steps to combat discrimination against minorities by their own practices. In some cases, this has included the passing of ordinances that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.
The Federal Fair Housing Laws are designed to prevent discrimination in various areas of life. These areas include housing, lending, employment, education, and the provision of goods, services, and amenities. For example, the laws prohibit discrimination against people on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, and national origin. Moreover, these laws also prevent discrimination on the basis of marital status, family status, and status of domestic partner.
Federal laws have been effective in discouraging discrimination against people due to their disability. A number of federal statutes provide for monetary damages if a person’s right is violated. In addition, many states have enacted anti-discrimination laws that cover disabilities.