Did you know that April is Fair Housing Month? Every April across the United States we celebrate the 1968 passage of The Fair Housing Act which prohibits discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or sex, and was later amended to cover disability and family status.
Individual states have added additional protected classes. New Hampshire also has protections based on age, marital status, and sexual orientation and Vermont on age, martial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, receipt of public assistance, and being a vicitm of domestic violence, sexual assualt, or stalking. Vermont also prohibits discrimination against housing developments in land use and planning decisions based on the income of intended residents.
The Fair Housing Act, which is technically Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, built on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968 – just seven days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time our country was also seeing increasing casualties from the war in Vietnam that disproportionately took the lives of young Black and Hispanic men whose families were facing discrimination in accessing housing.
The goal of Fair Housing is to eliminate discrimination and harassment of these protected classes so that everyone has equal access to housing, and to undo the decades of discriminatory redlining that segregated communities across the country. While progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.
Here at Vital Communities, we’re supporting stakeholders – including employers, municipal leaders, property owners, developers, local housing advocates, and others – to work together to create more places to live in the Upper Valley, with a focus on affordable options. Maintaining housing affordability is in the spirit of the Fair Housing Act. Vital Communities will continue to work collaboratively within the region to address the Upper Valley’s housing crisis and realize the vision of the Fair Housing Act that we commemorate this month.
Get Involved and Learn More:
- The Fair Housing Project of CVOEO coordinates Fair Housing Month in Vermont, find more information, events, and activities at https://fairhousingmonthvt.org/
- Check out HUD’s information and resources, including where to file a complaint
- Read April Fair Housing Month Proclamations by VT Governor Phil Scott and others here
Written by Ellen Hender, Program Manager for Housing and Transportation