FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 22, 2013
Contact: Kelly Setzer, firstname.lastname@example.org
April 2013 marks the 45th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, federal legislation that makes it illegal to discriminate in housing transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or familial status. This year’s Fair Housing Month theme is “Our Work Today Defines Our Tomorrow,” a reminder that the current efforts of organizations like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations are helping to foster sustainable, inclusive communities of opportunity for future generations.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations (C-MCR) has been administrating the local fair housing ordinances since 1980 and its staff is responsible for receiving and investigating complaints of housing discrimination. Over the past year, C-MCR has filed a complaint against a homeowner’s association for illegally fining families with children more often and higher amounts than those without, conciliated a complaint brought by an elderly disabled woman with a settlement nearing $10,000, and helped an African American man remain in his home after alleged discriminatory eviction, just to name a few.
A grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development also made it possible for C-MCR to launch a new initiative geared toward Charlotte’s disabled community this year. In partnership with the nonprofit organization, Disability Rights and Resources, C-MCR is conducting a study to test for housing discrimination in the disabled community and doing extensive outreach to persons with disabilities and their service providers about fair housing.
“We want everyone in Charlotte who has a disability to know that they have rights to reasonable accommodations and modifications under the law,” said Ailen Arreaza, Community Relations Specialist at C-MCR. “For example, if someone has a mobility issue and she requires a parking space close to her unit, her landlord must provide it. In the same vein, if a person is in a wheelchair and needs a ramp to enter his home, his HOA cannot prohibit him from building one.”
While disability discrimination is the biggest source of fair housing complaints nationwide, that is not the case for Charlotte. C-MCR hopes this testing study and outreach efforts will shed some light on disability and fair housing issues in our community.
Fair housing has come a long way over the past 45 years and the overt instances of housing discrimination that were the norm during the 60s are rarely encountered today. Still, housing discrimination continues to happen in our communities in subtle and sophisticated ways. C-MCR is working to make sure that is no longer the case 45 years from now.
To learn more about these important, free services to residents, visit crc.charmeck.org