Fair Housing Month Provides Reminder of the Barriers to Housing that Still Persist Nationwide

HUD is commemorating the 49th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, designating April as Fair Housing Month. This year’s theme is “Fair Housing Equals Opportunity,” highlighting equality in housing as a foundation upon which aspirations can be achieved and affirming the Fair Housing Act’s ongoing role in confronting housing discrimination. Throughout the month, HUD and its state and local fair housing partners will continue to host local fair housing month celebrations, seminars, and public education events that promote the ideals of fair housing.

A recent blog post by Trulia examines the successes and challenges that the Fair Housing Act has encountered since it was passed in 1968. According to Trulia, some metropolitan areas have seen racial gaps in housing narrow since the Act was passed, although racial and ethnic minorities still have fewer housing opportunities than all other households. Trulia’s analysis indicates that households of color own homes at a lower rate, spend more of their income on rent and continue to contend with residential segregation.

This month there was also a significant acknowledgement that federal fair housing laws protect LGBT households from discrimination. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it unlawful to refuse to rent or sell housing to anyone because of “sex, familial status or national origin,” but this is the first time a federal judge has ruled that sex discrimination also applies to “sex stereotyping,” and makes LGBT people a protected group under the law. The decision came a day after a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit extended the protection of federal employment discrimination law (Title VII) to LGBT people on the same basis.

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