According to the National Fair Housing Alliance, or NFHA, there were 1,311 housing discrimination complaints processed in 2017. That was about 5 percent of the 28,843 complaints received that year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. State and local agencies that were funded by HUD processed another 6,896 during that same year.
Michigan residents may have heard that Facebook is being investigated for possibly violating fair housing laws. An investigation began after a ProPublica report issued in 2016 claimed that the company's advertising system allowed advertisers to target certain groups at the exclusion of others. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 forbids housing discrimination based on race or other protected attributes.
The Fair Housing Rights Act of 1968 made it easier for people of color to gain access to available homes and apartments. However, Michigan residents of color may find that they still struggle to be treated equally when it comes to finding housing. It is a remnant of ideas that began after slavery ended and the country came back together as one.
When the Fair Housing Act of 1968 became law, its purpose was to correct racial discrimination that affected people's ability to acquire housing in Michigan and nationwide. Despite good intentions, the law has had small effect on home ownership rates for African Americans. Currently, they have a homeownership rate of 42.3 percent compared to 41.6 percent in 1970.
Redlining can be a serious concern for people looking for housing in Michigan and across the United States. Part of a racialized system of discrimination and housing segregation, the term is used to refer to the denial of financial services or mortgages to people in designated neighborhoods. Through the 1970s, redlining was a major factor in housing discrimination throughout the United States, and many argue that forms of redlining continue to persist to the present day in more subtle forms. Redlining has affected people's ability to get a mortgage, a loan or insurance, and it overwhelmingly impacts poor neighborhoods and those that are primarily composed of people of color.
The Fair Housing Act provides many protections to Michigan residents. However, the act may not necessarily provide certain protections for members of the LGBT community. On Feb. 6, the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals listened to arguments in a case involving a 70-year-old woman who alleges that she was harassed due to her sexual orientation. The woman claims that Niles' Glen Saint Andrew Living Community in Illinois did nothing to protect her.
The Fair Housing Act was signed into law in 1968 by Lyndon Johnson. It is formally known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and it was signed roughly a week after Martin Luther King had been assassinated. At that time, many neighborhoods in Michigan and throughout the nation were in many cases segregated. Black Americans were largely restricted as to where they could live by covenants and discriminatory banking rules.
Individuals with disabilities in Michigan and the rest of the nation have a federally protected right to apply for and reside in a rental no matter what type of impairment they may have. Property owners that deny disabled tenants housing by using a discriminatory housing practice are in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Amendments Act.
The Fair Housing Act protects Michigan residents and all other Americans who are members of protected classes from discrimination when they are choosing a home. A recent situation involving a disabled condominium owner brings to light how the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act work together to protect disabled individuals.
Michigan readers may know that some people with disabilities use service animals to help them participate in daily activities. However, keeping a service animal at a living site can raise complications if it exacerbates a roommate's allergies. That is the question currently before a U.S. district court.