National Fair Housing Month is celebrated in April, the same month in 1968 when the Fair Housing Act was signed. We recognize this month in hopes to end housing discrimination and raises awareness of fair housing rights.
WHAT IS FAIR HOUSING?
Generally, working households refer to households where family members work a total of at least 20 hours a week on average. Low- and moderate-income working families have the greatest housing cost burdens, these are the households that are paying over half their income for housing costs in a community. These lowest Income Households face innumerable difficulties in many aspects of their life. Federal housing assistance can alleviate the cost burden of extremely low- and very low-income households because they can cap a household’s rent payments at 30 percent of monthly household income.
However, the need for housing assistance in the U.S. far exceeds the programs’ current reach. According to the evidence-based data provided by the JOINT CENTER FOR HOUSING STUDIES OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY, “high housing costs have eroded the recent income gains among these households, leaving many renters with even less money to pay for other basic needs.”
Creating a greater supply of affordable rental units is only half of the equation, however. Also, there is a strong need to help working households to better afford their housing. Rental housing help from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) comes in many forms, including Housing Choice Vouchers, property-based Section 8 rental assistance, HOME funds, and the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which combines the Housing Choice Voucher program for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In 2021, the Fair Housing Act celebrates its 53rd anniversary. Made to protect Americans from discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on color, race, national origin, and religion, the act later stretched to sex, disability, and family status. This year HUD chose the theme of “Fair Housing: more than just words” stating that the theme “reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing equity in housing and the importance of increasing public awareness of everyone’s right to fair housing.”
“Although the Fair Housing Act became law in 1968, we still have major challenges ahead of us,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “This April, on the 53rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, HUD is renewing its commitment to level the playing field so every person has the same opportunity to live where they choose and benefit from all of the opportunities this nation offers.”
It is the RHA Mission that states that “A quality home is the foundation of society & community: quality home life provides hope and the pathway to our goals.” Responsible and respectful people deserve the opportunity to contribute to attaining a comfortable quality home and neighborhood all can have pride in. Communities that promote diversity and inclusion, provide access to opportunities for self-sufficiency. A thriving community means clean neighborhoods, safer streets, more local businesses, and equal housing for all.
Working for the community for over 70 years, we have gotten to know and experience the community and its needs. Through this we have devised ten attributes to govern our business by – we call these our Core Values. These Core Values, which are fundamental to us, is the cornerstone of the Rockford Housing Authority. We put them at the forefront of every plan, event, and project we do, because we care about our employees, our residents, our strategic partners, and the greater Rockford community.
People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to hud.gov/fair housing
Eleanor Roosevelt, Chairperson on the Commission of Human Rights, shared the following in 1958.
“Where after all do universal human rights begin? In small places, closest to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: The neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”