Every year in April, Fair Housing month celebrates the creation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which protects people from housing discrimination in the United States. Here are four points about the Fair Housing Act you should know:
- The Fair Housing Act was signed into law on April 11, 1968 (it was actually Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, but came to be more commonly known as the Fair Housing Act). Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4th of that year, so Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the Fair Housing Act legislation to honor Dr. King’s memory.
- The original Fair Housing Act of 1968 protected people from housing discrimination “based on race, color, religion or national origin”. In 1974, “sex” was added to that list of protections. In 1988, disabled persons and families with children were added to the list of protected groups.
- Alongside the protections included in the federal Fair Housing Act, Vermont also protects people from housing discrimination based upon “age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, receipt of public assistance, or being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.”
- Unfortunately, despite the existence of the Fair Housing Act, many people are still impacted by housing discrimination. But you can help protect yourself and others by learning about and getting involved with community initiatives that support access to equitable housing in Vermont. Click here to see a list of Fair Housing Month events.
To learn more about the history that led to the creation of the Fair Housing Act, check out NPR’s short video about housing segregation and redlining in America: