January 12, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Aiwuyor | 202-898-1661 | Jaiwuyor@nationalfairhousing.org
Statement from the National Fair Housing Alliance on MLK Day Celebrations and the State of Fair Housing
Washington D.C. – As we prepare to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it is important to note that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Dr. King was a key figure in pushing forward the fair housing (then referred to as open housing) movement. In fact, Dr. King moved his family into a tenement house in Chicago to highlight the atrocities of housing discrimination and residential segregation. The Fair Housing Act was passed 7 days after his death and signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson to help make real Dr. King’s dream that everyone have fair access to the promise that is America.
Since the passage of the Fair Housing Act, there have been a number of great steps forward in ensuring that all Americans have the right to equal opportunity. However, we are currently experiencing a crisis. Core tenants of fair housing are constantly being threatened. There are over 4 million instances of housing discrimination that occur each year and America’s neighborhoods are more segregated now than they were in the 1920s. Consequently, the racial wealth gap is widening. A lack of affordable housing across America’s cities is rendering more and more families homeless. The effects of climate change are displacing already vulnerable communities. Additionally, there has been a rise in hate-related incidents designed to threaten and harm people based on their sexual orientation, religious beliefs, race and ethnicity.
That is why the National Fair Housing Alliance is leading the effort to commemorate one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation our nation has passed – the Fair Housing Act. Our goal is to ensure that more people understand their fair housing rights, train future leaders in the fight for fair housing and pull more people into the fold. Fair housing is about ensuring that every neighborhood is a place where people can access the critical resources they need: quality schools, healthcare, living wage jobs, full service grocery stores, and mainstream financial institutions,.
This is a critical time for all Americans. Our future generations depend on access to healthy, economically stable, diverse and inclusive communities. The quality of life for our children should not be determined by their zip code or color of skin. Place should not be inextricably linked to opportunity. Where you live should not impact how long you live, or your income, or your chance to attend college.
We need everyone – business leaders, government officials, activists, housing professionals, and everyday folk – to support equal housing opportunities and uphold the promise of the Fair Housing Act and the legacy of Dr. King.
“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Shanna Smith, CEO and President of NFHA and Lisa Rice, Executive Vice President of NFHA are available for comment.
Founded in 1988, NFHA is a consortium of more than 220 private, nonprofit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, community development, advocacy, and enforcement.