Fair Housing Month 2014, Part 3: New Challenges

Disability overtakes race as the most common form of discrimination, LGBT rights are left to the states.

Today marks the last day of National Fair Housing Month, but the end of April doesn’t mean the end of the housing challenges buyers and renters will face this year.

Think discrimination isn’t an issue in this day and age?

In fact, discrimination cases show no signs of abating. On the other hand, the types of discrimination faced seem to be evolving with times.

So while complaint cases in past years have always shown race as the most prominent type of discrimination, in 2012 disability overtook it as the number one form of housing discrimination. Why?

In a way, it’s not as surprising as it looks on first glance. Most forms of housing discrimination are cut and dry cases of a housing provider stating you can’t live there for X reason (whether “X” is your race, ethnicity, or even just the fact that you have kids).

By contrast disability discrimination can be a little more subtle. It’s not just a matter of permitting or not permitting a person to live somewhere. It can also be about having proper access and accommodations to serve the physically or mentally disabled homeowner or renter.

From not having ramp access to having facilities that can’t extend the same service to the disabled, there are plenty of ways for the disabled community to be barred from living somewhere. The latest change in the Fair Housing Act attempts to correct that.

Protecting the LGBT community

Currently the LGBT community is not protected formally against discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. However, many states and even city governments have taken steps to cover the gap.

If you believe that you’re being discriminated from buying a home or renting because of sexual orientation, you should follow the same procedure to lodge a complaint discussed in Part 2 of this video series. Contact your local Human Rights Division to see if your city or state has any laws in place to protect your rights. Even without the protection of the federal law, you may have legal recourse.


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