For housing issues and discrimination complaints, 
call 716.854.1400 or visit HOME.

Our Fair Housing Services include recording and investigating complaints of housing discrimination, providing paralegal counseling for landlords and tenants to advise of rights and resolve disputes, providing housing and human service information and referrals to clients, providing technical assistance to government and nonprofit organizations and providing training to tenants, housing providers, agencies and municipalities.

Discrimination

HOME provides free assistance to victims of housing discrimination by:

  • Recording and investigating reported incidences of discrimination;
  • Explaining legal rights and options;
  • Assisting in the resolution of validated complaints of housing discrimination through advocacy, conciliation, administrative complaints, or court action; and
  • Providing resource referrals and ongoing emotional support.

HOME (1542 Main at Ferry in Buffalo) is open from 9AM to 5PM Monday- Friday with walk-in hours from 9AM to 1PM daily. Appointments are required for after 1PM visits.

If you feel like you’ve experienced discrimination, you may report it here or contact us by phone at 716.854.1400.

Housing Issues

HOME provides the following services to both tenants and landlords:

  • Paralegal counseling to resolve tenant-landlord disputes;
  • Information about fair housing laws;
  • Information about possible discriminatory practices;
  • Housing and human service information and referrals; and
  • Fair housing training (see our training page for more information).

For more information on your housing rights, please call us at 716.854.1400.
 


We also have convenient open office hours for Town of Hamburg residents. Office hours are held on the first Wednesday of every month from 3PM to 5PM. All are welcome!

Town of Hamburg Community Development Department
6122 South Park Ave., 1st Floor
Hamburg, NY 14075

 
If you’d like to set up an appointment, please contact HOME's education specialist at 716.854.1400 ext. 22 or by email.


FAQ: DISCRIMINATION

What is Fair Housing?

Fair housing is the right of all residents of this country to live "where the heart desires and the means permit." Where we live has an impact on every aspect of our lives from access to employment to education for our children.

When segments of the population are denied housing opportunities, they are also denied equal access to schools, public transportation, areas of businesses and other services. In effect, it is denying victims of discrimination an equal opportunity in life. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 and its subsequent amendments, as well as certain state laws, protect people from being discriminated against based on race, color, sex, disability, religion/creed, familial status, national origin, age, military status, marital status, and sexual orientation. In Buffalo, gender identity and expression is a protected class. In Buffalo, West Seneca, and Hamburg, lawful source of income is protected.

Who is protected by fair housing laws?

Everyone belongs to a protected class. Fair housing laws protect us all, whether we are renters, buyers, sellers, or homebuyers, and they are in everyone’s best interest. The FHA and other state and local laws outlaw discrimination in the sale, rental, negotiation, and financing (such as lending) of housing units.

Isn’t discrimination a thing of the past?

Despite the brave and tireless work of those before us, and despite the passage of various laws protecting civil rights, discrimination persists. Today, it is often done with a “handshake and a smile,” but it continues to limit the options of good tenants looking for housing within their means. Between 2014 and 2015, HOME processed 414 housing discrimination cases. Sadly, these numbers do not represent all instances of discrimination in WNY; oftentimes, people do not file complaints because they have come to accept discriminatory treatment as “the norm,” they are afraid of retaliation, they are unaware of their rights, or they don’t know where to turn.

What does housing discrimination look like?

The language of housing discrimination can be clear, such as: "We don't rent to your kind of people." Or: "I don’t want you here because you are pregnant.” Or: “I won't rent to you because your kids could fall off the balcony and you can sue me." However, more often discrimination is hidden in language like this:

  • "I don't think you would be happy in this neighborhood."
  • "We don't have any listings for you now."
  • "In the winter, this place costs a fortune to heat!"
  • "Sorry, that apartment was just rented. I doubt we will have anything available soon."
  • "With young children, would you feel safe living on a busy street like this?"
Often, this language is used to dissuade certain tenants from inquiring further about a rental.

Other Illegal Acts

Fair Housing laws also make the following actions illegal:

  • To steer people to different housing opportunities.
  • To publish advertisements or make statements which discriminate (for example, ads that state "no children" or "great for students").
  • To ask questions or record information about an applicant's race, disability, age (date of birth), etc.
  • To deny housing because of one's membership in a protected class (for example, a landlord saying that the building is not equipped for disabled tenants).
  • To pretend housing is not available.
  • To discriminate in the terms and conditions of a sale or rental (for example, charging different rents to people for the exact same housing unit).
  • To refuse to allow a disabled person the right to make "reasonable modifications" to the dwelling to make it easier to live (for example, putting grab bars in the bathroom).
  • To refuse to make "reasonable accommodations" in the policies or procedures of the housing unit to make it easier for the disabled person to live (for example, allowing a person to pay rent in midmonth because that is when a social security check comes in).
  • To sexually harass tenants in any way (for example, asking for sexual favors in return for repairs or rental discounts).
  • To block-bust neighborhoods due to a member of a protected class moving into the neighborhood (for example, group homes moving into the area resulting in other residents selling their homes for fear that property values will fall).