Whether talking to commissioners or community members, Sean Brooks, Community Development Manager, advocates for fair housing for all. “It's still out there,” he says, referring to the discrimination the act seeks to prevent, “even if we don't always see it.” His work on HAPCAP's Fair Housing Consortium involves educating individuals and organizations on their rights and responsibilities. “We listen to housing complaints and try to help people understand the best avenue to get their concerns addressed.” If the issue violates the Fair Housing Act, HAPCAP can help individuals file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the American Civil Liberties Union. Brooks will offer alternative solutions like a referral to the Southeastern Ohio Legal Services if the complaint does not violate fair housing protection. “Either way, we listen and try to help,” says Brooks.
The Fair Housing Act, also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 bans discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, or family status. It applies to renting, mortgage lending, application for housing assistance, and housing-related activities. April is Fair Housing Month; a time to reflect on the important work the legislation has done and raise awareness around the continued need to promote equal housing for all.
For more information about HAPCAP's work on housing issues, visit hapcap.org/housing.