Latino State News
Latino Policy Forum Marking the 43rd Anniversary of Federal Fair Housing Act
April is Fair Housing Month, with 2011 marking the 43rd anniversary of the milestone federal Fair Housing Act. The occasion offers opportunity to reflect on our progress—or lack thereof—in tackling housing discrimination. As Latinos, particularly Latino immigrants, continue to be scapegoats for a collective, recession-induced fiscal frustration, local, discriminatory housing ordinances and practices are increasingly limiting housing choices for Latino families.
In recognition of Fair Housing Month, the Latino Policy Forum is partnering with local, housing-focused organizations to raise awareness of rights under the fair housing laws and to help the public recognize discriminatory practices. As ‘Latino’ and ‘immigrant’ are often perceived as synonymous, the following points are particularly relevant:
· If a landlord inquires about prospective tenants’ immigration status, those questions must be asked of all applicants, regardless of race or country of origin.
· Similarly, landlords can require social security numbers for rental applications, but that requirement must be made of all applicants.
· Landlords must require the same documentation and fees for all applicants, regardless of immigration status.
· If a prospective tenant brings along a translator, landlords or agents must work with that translator.
Throughout April, Latino-serving housing organizations will be providing fair housing information at Chicago’s Mexican Consulate. Participating organizations include the Latino Policy Forum, John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Support Clinic, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project and Access Living.