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National Fair Housing Month

April is National Fair Housing Month which celebrates the Fair Housing Act passing in April of 1968.

The actprohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status.” Read more about the history of fair housing on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website here. 

Locally

Two big things have been happening in fair housing in the last few months.  

First, there was a proposed ordinance to prevent landlords from turning away low-income people who use federal housing vouchers or third-party payments for rental assistance.  

An advocate on our staff, Alyssa, attended one of the Social Services & Public Safety Committee of Lexington’s Urban County Council meetings in November. She said, “For many of our clients, short-term and long-term vouchers are the only way to get families on their feet to create safe homes for themselves and their children–sometimes for the first time ever.” 

In February, Lexington became the second city in Kentucky to ban source of income discrimination! Read more here.  

The other important law in fair housing is HB 5, or the ‘Safer Kentucky Act,’ which creates criminal penalties for street camping. Governor Andy Beshear vetoed the bill, but lawmakers overrode the veto and it goes into effect in July.

Here is part of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky’s statement on the passage of HB 5 –  

“HB 5 will create criminal penalties carrying fines and jail time for people charged with “street camping.” HB 5 will allow cities and counties to create sanctioned encampments but provides no resources for actual shelter and housing.” 

Read the full statement here.

Stay up to date on local fair housing by following these local organizations. 
Homeless & Housing Coalition of Kentucky
KY Fair Housing
KY Tenants

Nationally

On April 22nd, the Supreme Court heard the case of Johnson v. Grants Pass. This case will decide if cities can pass laws like the ‘Safer Kentucky Act.’ The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) participated in the Housing Not Handcuffs Rally during the hearing.  

NNEDV says, “We all deserve a safe place to live. And we can’t solve homelessness by punishing people for experiencing it. NNEDV calls on the Supreme Court to uphold the lower court’s decision that these punishments are cruel and unusual. And we call on policymakers to invest in proven strategies that help end abuse and homelessness, such as broad investments in affordable housing and targeted investments in survivor-specific housing programs.” 

A decision by the Supreme Court will be made by June 30th.  

Read more about the case here.

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