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Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley, on behalf of Mayor Jeff Porter, took time at the March 21 Special Presentations to proclaim April as Fair Housing Month. This month’s outreach aims to bring awareness to Fair Housing practices and recommit to the Fair Housing Act’s inspiring goal: eliminate housing discrimination and create equal opportunity in every community.
Earlier, Mayor Porter affirmed that “The City of Homestead is committed to highlight the Fair Housing Law, by continuing to address discrimination in our community, to support programs that will educate the public about the right to equal housing opportunities, and to plan partnership efforts with other organizations to help ensure every American their right to fair housing.”
Joined by Carlos M. Perez, finance director of the City of Homestead, Vice Mayor Shelley read the framed proclamation, which briefly summarized the importance of the Fair Housing Act and outlined the City’s commitment to realizing it in the Homestead community. The City’s Finance Department is responsible for administering the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The CDBG program helps to develop thriving urban communities by providing people of low and moderate income with decent housing, a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities.
In the United States, the fair housing policies date largely from the 1960s. Originally, the terms “fair housing” and “open housing” came from a political movement of the time to outlaw discrimination in the rental or purchase of homes and a broad range of other housing-related transactions, such as advertising, mortgage lending, homeowner's insurance and zoning.
In addition, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. Officially known as the U.S. Fair Housing Law, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, the Fair Housing Act articulates a national policy of Fair Housing without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex familial status and handicap. The underlying purpose of the legislation is to protect the buyer/renter of a dwelling from seller/landlord discrimination.
Encouraging citizens to understand what fair housing means in the Homestead community, Perez explained, “This [proclamation] is to raise awareness of your right to fair housing.” He encouraged residents to access information available on the City of Homestead and HUD websites.
Homestead residents can find information on fair housing and the Community Development Block Grant at www.cityofhomestead.com/cdbg. Or, for further information, call the City of Homestead’s Finance Department at 305-224-4553.