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Fair Housing Month highlights housing disparities and fights against discrimination

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors proclaimed the month of April 2022 as Fair Housing Month to bring awareness to historical housing disparities and shed light on the continual fight against housing discrimination.

Some 54 years ago, a week after the assassination of Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., and in the wake of intense debate over the fate of this and other civil rights legislation considered at the time, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The Act, designed to protect Americans from facing discrimination in the selling or buying houses, was subsequently signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968. The act supplements the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and addresses discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or sex.

Despite U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the earlier part of the century in such cases as Shelley v. Kraemer in 1948 and Jones v. Mayer Co. in 1968, which outlawed the exclusion of African Americans and other minorities from certain sections of cities, race-based housing patterns and government policies on the federal, state, and local level were still in use well into the late 1960s.
In 1988, Congress passed the Fair Housing Amendments Act, which expanded the law to prohibit discrimination in housing based on disability or family statuses, such as pregnant women or the presence of children under 18.

In essence, Fair Housing Act reaffirms the idea that, in all communities, people of diverse backgrounds, should be warmly welcomed as neighbors.

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