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Housing Discrimination

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What Is Housing Discrimination?

Housing discrimination is the illegal practice of discriminating against intending buyers or renters of housing units on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, family status, age, disability/handicap, e.t.c.

Discrimination in housing is highly prohibited and though biases are sometimes subtle. It is important to speak up against this to housing experts and civil rights attorneys. Appropriate action must be taken as it still persists in society today.

The affected groups are referred to as ‘protected categories’

Deeper Definition

Following the abolishment of slavery, the earliest forms of housing discrimination came into being. Purchase prices of properties were increased indiscriminately to prevent former slaves from renting, leasing, or buying land in certain neighborhoods.

By 1917, the Supreme Court had categorized these acts as unconstitutional and hence, illegal.

The later years in the 1900s came with the emergence of social, political, economic groups. With them came newer forms of prejudices such that the purchase of the property was hindered significantly on the basis of religion, sex, nationality, family status, and disabilities.

This trend had effects on the work market and necessitated the creation of the United States Housing Authority in the 1930s which was targeted at improving the public housing conditions for low-income earners in America.

1968 saw further progress made in the shape of the “Fair Housing Act”. This was enshrined in the 13th and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution.

In 1974, gender inclusivity was enforced and by 1978, people living with disabilities were factored in as well.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulates the housing industry as of today. As of 2015, a further regulation, Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) came to be.

It is important to address these as, for instance, homeownership has a direct impact on the racial wealth gap.

Housing Discrimination Example

It has been found that sexual orientation, veteran status, pet ownership e.t.c. have caused housing discrimination in recent times as in a case brought for hearing in the Supreme Court in 2014 where a certain individual was denied rental due to non-pet policies in the property.

The said individual said the pet helped in the treatment of an emotional disorder and the court ruled in his favor.

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