April named Fair Housing Month in Sussex County

Members of the Sussex County Council joined with representatives from the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) recently to formally observe and acknowledge the anniversary of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

With April declared “Fair Housing Month” in Sussex County by the five-member council during its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 8, the proclamation marks the 46-year anniversary of the legislation, also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act.

“The passing of this law marked one of the most important moments in the history of our industry, and that’s why we devote ourselves every April to its remembrance,” said Brad Riedle, 2014 president of SCAOR. “To ensure that every American, regardless of his or her status in life, has the same opportunities when it comes to home ownership is really what this country is all about.

“Owning your own home is part of the so-called ‘American Dream’ and this legislation made that dream more attainable for all Americans,” he added.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11, 1968, at the height of the nation’s civil rights movement. The legislation has allowed for significant advancements in fair housing practices and created federal enforcement guidelines regarding discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin, Riedle noted.

Many states, including Delaware, have drafted similar laws in recent years that have expanded those protections to include sexual orientation.

“All of us on the council believe that every person in this country deserves the same opportunities when it comes to fair housing, and it’s our pleasure to join with the Sussex County Association of Realtors in observing the anniversary of this historic piece of legislation,” said Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent.

When enacted in the United States more than 46 years ago, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed many things, including:

• Refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion or national origin.

• Discriminating based on race, color, religion or national origin in the terms, conditions or privilege of the sale or rental of a dwelling.

• Advertising the sale or rental of a dwelling indicating preference of discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin.

• Coercing, threatening, intimidating or interfering with a person’s housing rights based on discriminatory reasons or retaliating against a person or organization that aids or encourages fair housing rights.

To learn more about the Fair Housing Act of 1968, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website at www.hud.gov.

To read more about issues related to Sussex County’s real estate industry, visit SCAOR’s website at www.scaor.com.