FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 1, 2016
Media Contact: Molly Moses
OHFA Celebrates 48th Annual Fair Housing Month
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) joins the nation in observing April as Fair Housing Month. "A core belief of our values as Americans is the idea that every person deserves a fair chance to secure safe and stable housing," said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro. "Your race, how you get around, the size of your family, whether you come from another country, if you are a man or a woman, or whatever your religious beliefs are should never hinder your housing goals. I am proud of the work our fair housing staff does every day in conjunction with our state and local partners to ensure that everyone's fair housing rights are honored."
Last year, HUD and its Fair Housing Assistance Program partner agencies received 8,293 complaints alleging discrimination based on one or more protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, gender, family status and disability. During that period, the categories with the highest number of complaints were disability and race, respectively. The Fair Housing Act applies to housing and housing-related activities, including apartment and home rentals, real estate sales, mortgage lending and homeowners insurance.
Adopted in 1968 and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Fair Housing Act applies to housing and housing-related activities, including apartment and home rentals, real estate sales, mortgage lending and homeowners insurance. Actions that violate the Act include:
- Refusal to rent or sell housing;
- Refusal to negotiate for housing;
- Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a property; and/or
- Advertising or making any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap.
As the state's affordable housing leader, OHFA serves as a vital resource for Ohioans in their search for housing options through a variety of programs for renters and homebuyers with low- to moderate-incomes. To date, OHFA has helped to finance more than 128,000 units of affordable rental housing across the state.
"Granting every Ohioan equal access to safe, affordable and decent housing is not only essential in the affordable housing industry, it is at the core of OHFA's mission," said OHFA Executive Director Doug Garver. "We are proud to join the nation in observing Fair Housing Month, as no family should ever be denied the opportunity to own or rent a home."
Ohio Governor John R. Kasich issued a resolution recognizing Fair Housing Month and OHFA's continuing efforts to provide Ohioans with safe and affordable housing. In Fiscal Year 2015, 19.8 percent of homebuyers served by OHFA were minorities. Since 1987, OHFA has provided financing for more than 70,000 units of family housing, more than 34,000 units of senior housing and more than 6,300 units of permanent supportive housing. Individuals and families seeking permanent supportive housing often have long histories of homelessness and face persistent obstacles to maintaining housing, such as mental illness, a substance use disorder or a chronic medical problem.
"This month calls for OHFA and its partners to commemorate the advancements in making equal access to affordable housing available to every Ohioan," added Garver. "OHFA serves as an advocate for fair housing and remains committed to being an affordable housing leader."
For more information on OHFA and its programs, visit www.ohiohome.org or call 888.362.6432. For more information on the Fair Housing Act, visit the HUD website.
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About the Ohio Housing Finance Agency
OHFA is a self-supporting quasi-public agency governed by an eleven member board. The Agency uses federal and state resources to provide housing opportunities for families and individuals through programs designed to develop, preserve and sustain affordable housing throughout the state of Ohio.