April is Fair Housing Month

Photo © by Bernard Kleina

April 12, 2023

Support the Fair Housing Justice Center and the Fight Against Housing Discrimination

This month, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) is celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), as well as our 18th year of fighting against housing discrimination. April is an important month for us, during which we raise a substantial portion of our annual donations. With this in mind, we are writing to ask for our community’s financial support. Please consider making a contribution to help the FHJC make New York a more integrated, inclusive place for all.

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Fair Housing Act April 11, 1968

You may know the history of the FHA: in the days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., there were uprisings, riots, and protests in over 100 cities across the country. In response, the federal government passed the FHA, which provided the tools and legal avenues to fight housing discrimination and segregation. The FHA made housing discrimination illegal based on several characteristics, including race. It was a moment of hope, and an opportunity to integrate the United States’ segregated cities. However, enforcement of the FHA was left underfunded. Congress provided the newly founded Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with less than a quarter of the staff it requested to investigate and stop housing discrimination. To this day, an enormous shortage of capacity persists.

As a private civil rights nonprofit, the FHJC remains the most efficient and effective resource for people in our region seeking to challenge and remedy housing discrimination. The FHJC serves over 13 million people across the five boroughs of New York City and the surrounding counties of Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester.

We are excited about the direction and momentum of the FHJC’s work. We continue to expand and grow our work to provide more training about fair housing rights to people in our community, assist more individuals with housing discrimination complaints, conduct more investigations, file more lawsuits, and positively influence more aspects of housing policy. To name just a few recent highlights:

  • The FHJC’s Policy Manager, Britny McKenzie, recently published multiple opinion pieces, including one last month supporting the Housing Compact’s potential to affirmatively further fair housing and to dismantle segregated housing on a regional basis. She also continues to advocate for increased transparency and accountability in the co-op board approval process as a means to eliminate housing discrimination, recently appearing on NY1 to talk about the issue.
  • The FHJC’s multi-pronged fight against source of income discrimination, which disproportionately affects Black and brown tenants, continues in full force. A few weeks ago, in the most recent of our many enforcement actions, the FHJC filed a lawsuit to stop housing providers in the Bronx from discriminating against housing voucher holders.
  • We continue our zealous advocacy to ensure that housing is accessible to people with disabilities. The FHJC recently settled a 2019 case alleging inaccessible design and construction in new, large residential buildings in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. In February, we filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against owners, developers, and architects of a building in Queens.
  • A 2018 FHJC lawsuit spurred regulatory changes to New York State law in February, which will curtail widespread discrimination against wheelchair users seeking admission to assisted living facilities.

If we are to make the long-deferred dream of residential integration and inclusion a reality, the FHJC needs your support. 55 years after the passage of the FHA, housing discrimination remains widespread and pervasive. Our fight to achieve equality for all New Yorkers takes considerable time and resources. To help sustain this important work, please consider signing up for a monthly donation.