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National Fair Housing Month celebrated in April

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Lila Hackett, Executive Director of Fair Housing of Northern Alabama.
The Birmingham Times

Fifty-one years ago this month the federal Fair Housing Act was passed. The Act was signed into law seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This law was passed on April 11, 1968 to ensure equal access for all persons.  Unfortunately, after 51 years, housing discrimination still runs rampant in many communities. It is not as blatant as it once was but the results are the same.

Lila Hackett, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama, said the Fair Housing Act has been important for countless citizens over the last 51 years but people need to be reminded that citizens are denied housing opportunities daily based on race, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familiar status.

“The importance of celebrating the FHA each year is to bring awareness and to let people know that there is still work to be done,” she said.

In celebration of the law, the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama will hold its 20th Annual Fair Housing Seminar and Luncheon at the Botanical Gardens on Wednesday, April 24 from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Shelter should be made available to anyone who can afford it whether with or without assistance.

Housing seekers are on occasion denied due to their use of vouchers, veterans are denied because of his or her disability, families are denied due to having a male child, some are denied due to their religious beliefs, others due to their sexual orientation. In any event, denials like these are unlawful.

The luncheon at the Botanical Gardens will consist of two sessions, “Implicit Bias and the Real Estate Professional” and “Reasonable Accommodations.” The luncheon will feature the 2018 video on The History of Housing Discrimination in Birmingham developed by the Birmingham Association of Realtors.

Both sessions are beneficial to any person providing housing related services. This includes realtors, multi-family providers, single family providers, lenders, maintenance workers, attorneys, builders and the providers of insurance.  For many multi-family providers, this training is essential due to the frequent turnover of staff. The sessions will provide basic information needed to successfully provide fair and equal housing access. Continuing education credits are available for realtors. For more specific information, please contact the center by calling 205-324-0111 or 1-866-740-1040.