April is National Fair Housing Month, and every year, local communities – along with fair housing advocates and organizations across the country – work alongside HUD in their mission to increase the public’s awareness of housing rights, highlight fair housing enforcement efforts, and emphasize the importance of ending housing discrimination.
This month we also celebrate the anniversary of The Fair Housing Act which President Lyndon Johnson signed in 1968 making fair housing the law. Upon signing the milestone act, he declared, “Now, with this bill, the voice of justice speaks again. It proclaims that Fair Housing for all, all human beings who live in this country, is now part of the American way of life.”
Many individuals have successfully enforced these rights since the Fair Housing Act was ratified. The equality that is enforced by fair housing laws means that all individuals and families have a pathway to help, ensuring the protection of their rights.
The passage of the 1988 Fair Housing Amendments Act was a victory for fair housing and extended protections to individuals with disabilities. However, significant challenges to housing equality continue to persist. Recent lawsuits brought about by the federal government demonstrate that the Act remains an important tool for fighting ongoing discrimination practices.
Today, many local governments safeguard fair housing protections beyond the Fair Housing Act. This includes things such as forbidding housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or source of income which is not covered by the Act. In addition, some argue that anti-density zoning and rising housing costs are significant contributors to segregation. Communities can fight back by prioritizing affordable housing and inclusionary zoning policies as well as community aid programs.
Founded by a dedicated group of low-income Richmond residents, Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services was established to reverse the adverse effects of systemic segregation, redlining, disinvestment, and blight. Today, RNHS has grown to serve the needs of over 7,500 families across the East Bay. RNHS continues to work for a more just and equitable society. RNHS is a HUD-approved Housing Counseling agency. For additional information, reach out to us at [email protected], call (510) 237-6459, or like us on Facebook.