Fair Housing Month 2019
Fair housing is a human right. This basic truth was signed into United States law as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, better known as the Federal Fair Housing Act, on April 11, 1968. Each year this milestone is celebrated by recognizing April as Fair Housing Month. This year, the City of Buffalo, the County of Erie, and many other municipalities in Western New York will gather to officially proclaim Fair Housing Month on Thursday, April 4 at 11:00 AM at the Town of Tonawanda Municipal Building at 2919 Delaware Ave. The proclamation will be delivered by Tonawanda Town Supervisor Joseph Emminger, followed by a keynote address by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Fair housing has been at the forefront of change in Western New York, as this year’s Fair Housing Month marks one year since the passage of Erie County’s fair housing law, which prohibits landlords from denying tenants based on their source of income, including Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and other government assistance.
Western New York’s only fair housing agency, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), will host many events throughout the month to raise awareness of fair housing and to educate people about their rights in housing. There will be events targeted for tenants, landlords, first-time homebuyers, municipal officers, and more. The Fair Housing Month calendar is anchored by a free tenants’ rights workshop at HOME’s office at Main and Ferry on Wednesday, April 10, and by a Health and Housing Community Forum on Thursday, April 11. The forum will be co-hosted by HOME, YourCare Health Plan, and Say Yes Buffalo. Many of the month’s events are free and open to the public.
As the country enters its 51st year of fair housing, discrimination persists. In 2018 HOME received nearly 200 discrimination reports, a number that has remained relatively steady over the years. HOME and its partners in the Erie County Fair Housing Partnership emphasize the importance of continuing to fight discrimination in Western New York through education and enforcement of fair housing laws. Fair Housing Month is a major part of this work.