Letters to the Editor

Fair Housing Act still here to help

Forty-eight years ago this month, on April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, handicap and family status.

This important law also made it unlawful for a housing provider to make, print or publish any statement or advertisement that states a preference based on these classes.

The department’s theme this year is: Shared Opportunity in Every Community. We’re urging all citizens to reach out into their communities and help those who are seeking to rent, own, buy or insure a home and educate them about their fair housing rights and how to take action if they suspect discrimination.

The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) is charged with investigating cases of housing discrimination.

The top five bases of discrimination are disability, race, national origin, familial status and sex. Last year 185 cases of discrimination were investigated and resolved.

While unlawful discrimination continues to keep many individuals and families from obtaining the housing of their choice, the passage nearly half a century ago of the Fair Housing Act took a giant step forward in addressing this issue.

As acting chair, I appreciate the opportunity to share information with my fellow Floridians who have the power to fight housing discrimination.

By contacting the FCHR, a local fair housing center or the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, you will be able to take the first step in that process.

If you feel you are a victim of housing discrimination, I urge you to contact the FCHR at 1-800-342-8170 or visit our website at http://fchr.state.fl.us/ and allow us the opportunity to assist you.

Rebecca Steele, acting chair,

Florida Commission on

Human Relations,