Law against housing discrimination marks 40th year on the books

April 26, 2008
Enacted days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968, the Fair Housing Act turned 40 this month. The law continues to provide protection against racial discrimination, but increasingly in recent years has been used to protect those with disabilities from unfair housing practices, federal officials said.
     Nationally, 43 percent of fair housing complaints lodged with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban in 2006 and 2007 alleged discrimination on the grounds of disability while 37 percent cited racial discrimination, according to Chuck Hauptman, director of HUD's Fair Housing Equal Opportunity Office, Region IX.
     In the Las Vegas area during the last two years, about 50 percent of people making fair housing complaints cited unfair treatment on the basis of disability, Hauptman said from his San Francisco office.
     "Disability discrimination has surged to the forefront as far as the number of cases. People are more aware of their rights," said Hauptman, whose region includes Nevada, California, Arizona, Hawaii and Guam. "I think you'll see this increasing more over time as baby boomers grow older."