Each April, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses Fair Housing Month to mark the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the landmark law passed shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status. This year's Fair Housing Month theme is "Fair Housing is Your Right: Use It!" Throughout the month, HUD will cast a spotlight on the persistent problem that exists in this country, as individuals and families continue to face both blatant and subtle forms of housing discrimination.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan launched this year's commemoration at an event featuring the new film "A Matter of Place," which documents three personal stories of housing discrimination in New York City. Underwritten by a grant provided under HUD's Fair Housing Initiative Program, the film profiles three examples of housing discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, and source of income and features commentary from legal experts, civil rights advocates and fair housing testers.
"This month is an opportunity to recommit to the principle that fair housing is an essential part of everything we do; every grant we make; every building we build; and every community we work with," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "And we will go to the mat in order to ensure the right of every American to fair housing. Although the times have changed - our commitment to this work remains as strong as ever. It is at the core of our mission."
"Fair Housing Month is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on just how far we've come to make our housing more equitable and how far we still have to go to end housing discrimination," said HUD Acting FHEO Assistant Secretary Bryan Greene. "Fair housing is about giving people the opportunity to pursue their dreams and whenever this opportunity is denied, not only do families lose, our entire nation loses."
Each year, HUD and communities and organizations across the country recognize Fair Housing Month by hosting an array of activities that enhance the public's awareness of their fair housing rights and promote the nation's commitment to end housing discrimination.
In addition to the legal protections provided under the Fair Housing Act prohibiting housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status, approximately 20 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 150 cities, towns and counties across the nation also prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families. In 2012, HUD published new regulations to ensure that the Department's core housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, 12 states and the District of Columbia, as well as several counties and municipalities protect persons against housing discrimination based on their source of income.