FHJC Unveils New Website for Fair Housing Month

Photo © by Bernard Kleina

April 23, 2023


 As it marks the 55th anniversary of the Fair housing Act during this year’s Fair Housing Month observance, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) announced the launch of its newly redesigned website today.

The new website features a modern, user-friendly design, enhanced accessibility features, and Google Translate integration. The improved functionality makes it easier for visitors to access important information, resources, and FHJC services. Intake functionality has been streamlined, giving users a simpler way to report housing discrimination complaints. Complaints may also be reported anonymously.

The sleek, clean design incorporates more images and photographs, providing a better visual experience and making it easier for users to navigate through the website and find the information they need. Several sections feature mural photographs by civil rights advocate and friend of the FHJC, Bernard Kleina.

The redesign also features a complete restructuring and reorganization of the site’s news and resources sections, including an initial set of ten newly created fact sheets covering various aspects of fair housing featuring plain language and colorful, uniform design.

The redesign was created by web designer and consultant Jason Mazza of Image and Type, who built the FHJC’s original site in 2013 and was eager to work on the update. Mazza worked in close conjunction with FHJC staff, primarily Community Engagement Coordinator Craig Waletzko who had praise for the designer, stating, “Jason’s been amazing to work with. His expertise and his commitment to our mission have resulted in a truly beautiful site that will be a huge asset to our organization going forward.”

To make it easier for users with disabilities to access the online content, the new site has been designed from the ground up to be compatible with e-readers and other accessibility tools. To further increase the site’s adaptability, the FHJC has also incorporated accessiBe, an AI-powered web accessibility tool, which automatically scans and adjusts the website’s content to meet WCAG 2.1 guidelines. The tool also provides users with options to adjust the site’s appearance, such as font size and color contrast, based on their individual needs and/or preferences. AccessiBe is providing this service to the FHJC for free through its nonprofit partnership program.

“We believe that fighting for civil rights in housing means ensuring that all people with disabilities have equal access to information and resources,” stated FHJC Executive Director/General Counsel Elizabeth Grossman. “By adding a variety of accessibility services to our new website, we are taking a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and accessible online platform.”

The website’s Google Translate integration allows visitors to translate the site’s content into Spanish and Chinese, the most widely spoken non-English languages in the FHJC’s service area. In addition to the AI-powered translation, the module allows post-editing by human translators for greater accuracy.

“Our new website is intended to serve our community, and we understand that not all visitors speak English as their first language,” said Waletzko. “With the integration of Google Translate and its post-editing features, we can now provide a more inclusive experience, making it easier for visitors to access our content in their preferred language.”

Grossman noted that the new features were especially important for an organization dedicated to eliminating housing discrimination. “Disability is a protected characteristic under fair housing laws, and while non-fluency in English is not itself protected, it is often used as a proxy for other forms of discrimination. We hope that this redesign will not only help non-English speakers and individuals with disabilities access our content, but also demonstrate our overall commitment to equity and justice for everyone.”

The public is encouraged to visit the new site at www.fairhousingjustice.org. As the FHJC continues to monitor and improve the site’s translation and accessibility features, anyone experiencing problems on the site is asked to email their concerns to cwaletzko@fairhousingjustice.org.

The mission of the FHJC, a nonprofit civil rights organization, is to eliminate housing discrimination; promote policies and programs that foster open, accessible, and inclusive communities; and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws in the New York City region.