Fair housing is the right to choose housing free from unlawful discrimination. Fair housing laws, which protect against discrimination, are crucial because where you live affects everything else in your life: your health, access to education, opportunities for employment, and more. The Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968 in the aftermath of the Chicago Freedom Movement and the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., committed our nation to a goal that we still fight for today: to eliminate housing discrimination and create equal opportunity in every community. To create a more just and equitable society, we need to expand access to fair and affordable housing.
Today, more protected classes are included in the Act and many of our communities are more diverse and welcoming than they were in 1968. The Obama Administration took an important step in 2015 to fight housing discrimination by strengthening existing federal rules for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), which require local governments that receive certain federal funds to analyze challenges to fair housing choice and establish their own goals and priorities to address the fair housing barriers in their community.
At the beginning of 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suspended the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. In early 2020, HUD released a proposal that would gut it, and in August 2020, the Trump administration issued a final rule repealing it. This effectively guts a critical tool for achieving greater desegregation and housing equity. Learn more and read a statement from national housing and civil rights organizations condemning the action.
This step backward in enforcing AFFH makes now a particularly poignant time for us to reflect, educate, and organize. Housing discrimination and segregation continue to persist in many forms nationwide, and we have a long way to go to build truly inclusive, equitable communities.
Fair Housing Month
We commemorate Fair Housing Month each April by remembering and celebrating the anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Check back for more information on events and materials as April approaches.
- Defending Against Unprecedented Attacks on Fair Housing: 2019 Fair Housing Trends Report
- The Fair Housing Act
- History of Fair Housing
- The Fair Housing Act at 50
- Fair Housing and Equity Assessment: Metropolitan Chicago
- The Unfulfilled Promise of Fair Housing
- Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law
- Fifty Years of “The People v. HUD”: A HUD 50th Anniversary Timeline of Significant Civil Rights Lawsuits and HUD Fair Housing Advances
We’ll let you know how to add your voice when we advocate for federal and state investments in affordable housing programs. Sign up for our policy advocacy alerts »
Know Your Rights
What Have We Been Doing?
- We worked with allies across the nation from 2018 – 2020 to oppose proposals to gut the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
- In the summer of 2018, Housing Action Illinois partnered with HOPE Fair Housing to facilitate community conversations about housing rights. We traveled throughout Illinois to educate groups on how the Fair Housing Act protects people in our communities—including people of color, families with children, religious households, and people with disabilities—from discrimination when trying to find a place to call home.
- In 2017, we developed a Fair Lending: Know Your Rights brochure to help people understand their rights.