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 April is National Fair Housing Month

The month of April is National Fair Housing Month. This month is a designated time to recognize the advancements of equal housing access and to remind ourselves of the purpose of the Fair Housing Act. Enacted by Congress in 1968, the Fair Housing Act applies to housing and housing-related activities including:
·         Apartment and home rentals
·         Mortgage lending
·         Home owners insurance
·         Real estate sales.
The Fair Housing Act was enacted to protect persons form housing related discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status (children), disability or ancestry. In the State of West Virginia, that list is expanded to include blindness.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), two million instances of housing discrimination are estimated to take place each year across the nation. Despite this, less than two percent of those instances are reported as many renters and homebuyers do not fully understand what activities are illegal under the Fair Housing Act.
Examples of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act include:
 
·         Refusal to rent or sell housing
·         Refusal to negotiate for housing
·         Making housing unavailable
·         Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a property
·         Providing different housing services or facilities
·         Falsely denying housing is available for inspection, sale or rental of a property
·         Persuading owners to sell or rent their home for profit
·         Denying access to or membership in a facility or service related to the sale of housing
·         Advertising or making any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability or blindness. This prohibition applies to single family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.
Fair Housing Resources
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
To learn more about the office and Fair Housing rights or to file a Fair Housing violation complaint, visit
http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp. You may also contact the Housing Discrimination Hotline via email at fheo_webmanager@hud.gov or at 1-800-669-9777 (Voice) or 1-800-927-9275 (TTY).
 
 West Virginia Human Rights Commission
 
The West Virginia Human Rights Commission will encourage and endeavor to bring about respect, tolerance, and mutual understanding among all citizens of West Virginia regardless of their race, gender, religious persuasion, ethnicity, or disability. The Commission will administer and ensure adherence to, through education, investigation, mediation, and adjudication, the Human Rights Act which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation. Learn more at http://www.hrc.wv.gov/
 
West Virginia Fair Housing Action Network
 
The Fair Housing Action Network (FHAN) is a collaboration between three West Virginia organizations - the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living (NWVCIL), the West Virginia Assistive Technology System (WVATS) and the Community Living Initiatives Corporation (CLIC). The partners are actively involved in initiatives that target education, outreach, policy and advocacy towards all housing stakeholders, from consumers and housing providers to elected officials. Learn more at http://www.wvfairhousing.org
 
National Fair Housing Alliance
 
The NFHA provides information about fair housing rights, resources and news. Learn more at http://www.nationalfairhousing.org
 

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