Arkansas Fair Housing Commission hopes to bring awareness to discrimination

    6:47 AM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AFHC) -- The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission (AFHC) has begun a marketing campaign designed to increase Arkansans' awareness of the commission, knowledge about what housing discrimination is and how potential victims can get assistance. This campaign will include radio advertisements in English and Spanish language, along with publicity interviews on broadcast television and radio.

    Housing discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability is illegal. It is also illegal to advertise or make a statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.

    A 2012 study conducted by the Urban Institute shows that while blatant "door-slamming" discrimination has decreased since the 1970s, less easily detectable discrimination persists. Here are two cases of housing discrimination successfully closed by the AFHC:

    African American Woman Denied Opportunity to View a House
    A real estate agent, solicited by a woman in the market to purchase a home, sent the woman an MLS listing of a property on Lake Hamilton. The agent circled the address of the property and wrote, "Good people Redneck Area." The property was in an all-Caucasian area and the agent refused to show the property to the woman. A monetary settlement was reached by the AFHC.

    Ordinance Change Allows Woman to Have Ramp
    A woman who wanted to build a covered ramp onto her mobile home for her handicapped sister sought relief from the AFHC when the city of DeWitt denied her permit because an existing city ordinance did not allow additions to mobile homes that extended toward the street farther than the existing line of the mobile home. The DeWitt City Council approved a change in the city's zoning ordinance, allowing the woman to build the ramp.

    "Despite laws prohibiting these acts, there are still too many incidences of violations of fair housing and lending laws; and the overwhelming majority of our cases involve discrimination based on race and disability," Director Carol Johnson, said.

    "While we do not comment on open cases, it is important to note that AFHC is receiving many complaints currently from those in the Hispanic community about Housing Act violations."

    If one believes their rights have been violated, they should report these violations to the AFHC by calling 501.682.FAIR (3247) or by submitting a complaint at fairhousing.arkansas.gov.

    For more information about the commission's campaign, contact Stephanie Jackson at 501.492.4900 or stephanie@designgroupmarketing.com.

    About the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission
    The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission (AFHC) is a quasi-judicial, regulatory, enforcement agency working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to enforce federal and state fair housing and fair lending laws. AFHC's mission is to receive, initiate, investigate, conciliate and/or resolve complaints alleging violations of the Arkansas Fair Housing Act.

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