How We’re Advocating for Fair Housing

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April is National Fair Housing Month, a time to recognize the ways we’re helping bring equal housing to fruition. It’s also a time to commemorate the passage of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, disability mental and physical) or sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation). In Illinois, this list also includes age (40 and older), ancestry, marital status, order of protection and unfavorable military discharge. The federal Fair Housing Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on April 11, 1968 and was a historic act of legislation sparked by the civil rights movement. This act did not and has not ended housing discrimination. We still have a duty to not only ensure equal housing opportunities within our communities, but to advocate for it in the broader society.

Housing Discrimination Today

Housing inequality affects millions of people who are unable to secure affordable, quality housing. Currently, in the United States, there is a need for 7.4 million affordable housing apartments.

Advocates for Equal Housing

This is still a problem despite legislative efforts, and one way we’re held accountable to anti-discrimination efforts is by remaining compliant with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules regarding fair housing. This is primarily done through the development and implementation of an affirmative fair housing marketing plan for each of our communities. These plans commit us to marketing to the individuals least likely to apply at a given community based on the demographics of the surrounding area, the resident population and those on the waiting list. This makes sure we perform targeted outreach to certain underrepresented groups within our communities and provide equal housing opportunities for all.

Advocacy is one of our core values, and we want to embody that value on a local scale, making sure our teams advocate for our residents’ needs day in and day out, and on a national scale, communicating to government officials what our communities need to stay equitable and thrive.

Leading the Way

Another way we’re helping advocate for housing equality is by providing guidance to other affordable housing providers so that they can best serve people who are housing-insecure in their communities. We do this through our Embrace Living Property Solutions service, which is encapsulated by three core services: management, consulting and social service coordination. These services provide clear opportunities for affordable housing owners to operate their properties at the highest standards and advance resources that promote resident well-being and provide opportunities for those communities to be genuine advocates for housing equality. We also make sure that the properties we manage through Property Solutions meet HUD and exceed the local, state and federal compliance standards, by embodying the spirit of the programs, which includes safeguards to ensure discrimination is avoided.

Housing for All

For over 125 years, we’ve provided quality, safe homes for all, no matter who they are or where they come from. Through advocacy, anti-discriminatory housing practices and diverse teams and resident populations, we are engaged in doing what we can to make sure that whoever needs an affordable home has access to one. Housing is a basic human right, and it is on everyone to ensure that housing equality is established for the most vulnerable members of our communities.

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