April is National Fair Housing Month!

This year is the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Federal Fair Housing Act; a monumental act passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11th, 1968. This law prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on protected classes, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), familial status, and disability. Across America in 2021, 31,216 fair housing complaints were filed with the National Fair Housing Alliance. Fairly accessing housing is a challenge in many communities, as discrimination and racial disparities continue to persist around the nation.

It is important to know WHY this bill was, and continues to be, necessary. During the second phase of the great migration (1940’s-70’s) black households who moved to Northern states were met with housing discrimination through redlining and racial covenants, as well as subtle forms of discrimination like steering. These discriminatory practices kept non-white families from accessing certain neighborhoods. For years prior to the passing of this bill, Martin Luther King Jr. fiercely advocated to pass Fair Housing legislation in congress. However, his hard work only culminated in the passing of this bill after he was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. This legislation was shaped and pushed into action by MLK, and his legacy in equal access to housing should be honored not only in April, but all year long.

Let us continue this legacy by raising awareness about the principles of the fair housing and recognize that fair housing is a fundamental human right.

Fair Housing in Minnesota

Minnesota’s very own Walter F. Mondale co-authored the Fair Housing Act when he was a Senator from 1964 until 1976. In 2018 and in reflection of the first 50-years of the Fair Housing Act, Mondale writes, “It remains a bulwark for advocates of justice and equality, as they advance, inch by inch, toward a fairer, more integrated nation.”

Minnesota Human Rights Act

In Minnesota, the Fair Housing Act is extended through the Minnesota Human Rights Act which was created in 1977. It is one of the most extensive civil rights legislations in the country. It includes additional protections to certain classes, such as creed, sexual or affectional orientation, receipt of public assistance, and marital status. In addition to these protections, the Minneapolis Civil Rights Act and the Saint Paul Human Rights Act protect ancestry and the Saint Paul Human Rights Act protects age.  

Renter’s Fair Housing Rights in Minnesota

Any person who is seeking to rent an apartment, townhome, condo, duplex, single-family home, or any other rental property, should have free access to housing choice without discrimination regardless of their protected class. Examples of this include the right to view all housing opportunities of interest, equal standards and procedures throughout the housing process, and interactions free from harassment and intimidation.  

Property Owner’s and Manager’s Fair Housing Responsibilities in Minnesota

Under the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act, landlords are required by law to not discriminate based on protected classes. Examples of this include refusal to rent or sell housing, provide a person with different housing services or facilities, fail or delay performance of maintenance or repairs, and assign a person to a particular building, neighborhood, or section of a building.

New Fair Housing Trainings in the Twin Cities Metro

To continue advancing fair housing outcomes in Minnesota, we are excited to announce: In partnership with the Fair Housing Implementation Council (FHIC), Affordable Housing Connections is hosting 10+ free fair housing trainings across the Twin-Cities Metro area for both renters and landlords, starting in May. Over the next few weeks, please look out for a flyer which will contain additional information and check back to our website which will also have updated information and a registration link. We invite renters, landlords, property managers, and anyone else, to join AHC for these free trainings to learn about:

  • the history of housing discrimination in the United States;
  • your rights and responsibilities under current federal, Minnesota, and local laws;
  • and how to protect your household from experiencing possible housing discrimination

Steps You Can Take to Report Housing Discrimination

If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination or if your fair housing rights were violated, these are steps you can take:

  • File a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
  • Call Minnesota’s Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148
  • File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Resources to Continue Learning about Fair Housing

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