While every month is Fair Housing month at CLASI, each year we place special emphasis on public awareness during April. Three weeks ago, we were proud to host a virtual fair housing event that featured Delaware State Senator Elizabeth Lockman (found on Twitter as: @TizzyLockmanDE) as our keynote speaker. Senator Lockman spoke compellingly about her bill to expand Delaware’s Fair Housing Act to prevent landlords from refusing to participate in all subsidized housing programs. This bill would significantly expand housing opportunities for vulnerable Delaware families and prevent them from being discriminated against based upon receiving housing assistance. The bill has already passed the State Senate and is now pending in the State House. We are hopeful that the Delaware Legislature will act boldly to pass this important civil rights legislation. No Delawarean should be subject to housing discrimination.
You may be asking, “what is fair housing?” Under the State and Federal fair housing acts, it is illegal to make housing unavailable on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, disability, creed, marital status, age, and source of income. Housing providers also are required to make reasonable accommodations in their rules and practices so that individuals with disabilities have equal access and opportunity in housing.
Every day CLASI represents Delawareans who have been the victims of discrimination. We are honored to receive significant funding from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to combat illegal discrimination. Through this generous contract, we represent individual Delawareans who have been subjected to illegal discrimination. We also educate Delaware residents, social service providers, and landlords about discrimination in all its insidious forms.
When we find that a client has experienced housing discrimination, we file complaints with the Delaware Division of Human Relations seeking compensation for their victimization. We work hard to negotiate with landlords so that our clients can access housing, remain housed, or find other housing in the least disruptive way possible. Each day, we engage in this work to reduce housing discrimination in Delaware, preventing landlords from illegally evicting tenants and championing our neighbors who have experienced this painful victimization. Ending discrimination in all its forms is a necessity, ending it in the realm of housing is work we are committed to, day in and day out. It falls to all of us to try to make the promise of housing equality a reality. We are honored to have the privilege of doing this work on behalf of our clients.
In April we celebrate the promise of FAIR HOUSING for all!
Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.