April 1, 2022

What You Need to Know About National Fair Housing Month in April

Every April, America commemorates the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This federal law, which was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968, protects people from discrimination when renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in any other housing-related activities.

Who is Protected?

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • Race or skin color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including sexual orientation or gender identity)
  • Familial Status
  • Disability

How Did it Come to Be?

Congress regularly considered bills like the Fair Housing Act between 1966 and 1967 but failed to garner a strong enough majority for its passage. When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, President Johnson urged for the bill’s speedy Congressional approval. He viewed the Fair Housing Act’s passing as a fitting memorial to Dr. King’s life’s work fight for equality, equity, and freedom.

During this time, the Vietnam war was taking its toll on American families as well. The deaths in Vietnam fell heaviest on young and poor Black and Hispanic soldiers. Their families back home couldn’t purchase or rent homes in certain residential developments because of their race or national origin. Organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the GI Forum, and the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing also helped to push the passing of the bill.

The Effects Still Felt Today

Unfortunately, many American neighborhoods remain segregated with less amenities being available for Black, Hispanic, or other minority neighborhoods. Quality housing is the foundation for achieving better educational, employment, and health opportunities and outcomes. Quality housing also helps families build wealth that can be passed through generations.

In a 2020 Zillow survey, data shows that Black homebuyers were more concerned than white buyers about even qualifying for a mortgage (59% of Black buyers versus 46% of white buyers). This fear isn’t misplaced. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report, the Black homeownership rate was 43% in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to 74% for White Americans.

Know Your Rights

Complaints should be filed as soon as possible if you believe your rights have been violated. You can file a complaint through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). To learn more, please visit the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development website.

Use a Lender Who Cares

Homestead Funding provides equal and fair housing finance solutions. When you’re ready to discuss your family’s home financing needs, contact us. You’ll be put in touch with a Loan Originator who will help you through your unique homebuying journey.

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Homestead Funding offers exceptional customer service and a convenient mortgage process. Whatever your financing needs, our goal is to exceed your expectations.