April is National Fair Housing Month. National Fair Housing Month increases efforts to end housing discrimination and raises awareness of fair housing rights. The month also remembers the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, of which fair and equitable access to housing was a key factor. The Fair Housing Act also celebrates its anniversary during April. In 2018, the Fair Housing Act celebrated its 50th anniversary. Designed to protect Americans from discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on color, race, national origin and religion, the act later extended to sex, disability and family status.
During 2018, the City of Seattle focused on the second year’s work to implement the 2017 City of Seattle and Seattle Housing Authority Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH). The development of the AFH required significant coordination, facilitation, research and production among 16 different city departments plus the Seattle Housing Authority during the period of 2015-2017. The AFH was adopted and accepted by HUD in July 2017. The 2018-2022 Consolidated Plan integrated the goals of the AFH work plan and as a result, the 2018 CAPER is the first time AFH accomplishments are included in our report. Please see the separate attachment that focuses on the commitments and progress toward AFH goals.
Below are some highlights for 2018 from that plan, though only a small portion of the work overlapped with the Assessment of Fair Housing:
- The “Fair Chance Housing Ordinance” became effective on 2/19/2018 (SOCR)
- SOCR worked in partnership with HSD to attend community listening sessions as part of a Racial Equity Toolkit to examine how City Council-designated funds should be distributed for tenant outreach (SOCR)
- A campaign was launched to educate the public about the “Alternative Source of Income” and “Fair Chance Housing” ordinance (SOCR)
- 8 free fair housing workshops for housing providers in an effort to make housing laws easier to access for the public (SOCR, SDCI)
- 26 trainings were held with housing providers on how best to address bias when using criminal records in tenant screening (SOCR)
- OPCD published its first “Comprehensive Plan Urban Village Monitoring Report” in June 2018. This report gauges the City’s progress in implementing Seattle’s recently updated Comprehensive Plan. The report tracks indicators related to housing and employment growth, housing affordability, and key aspects of livability including access to frequent transit, presence of sidewalks, and access to parks and open space. We’re measuring the indicators for the city as a whole and for individual centers and villages across the city (OPCD)
- Affirmative marketing requirements for MFTE, MHA, and IZ performance units were published (OH)
I would like to acknowledge and offer my many thanks to the HSD Federal Grants Unit, in particular Debra Rhinehart, for the coordination this local effort requires. This body of work is racial equity in action, and I appreciate your leadership. #NationalFairHousingMonth