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Fifty-Six Years of the Fair Housing Act

During this week’s Council meeting, the Council commemorated the 56th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, a landmark civil rights law that made discrimination in housing unlawful.

Its passage came only after a long and difficult journey fought for by advocates around the country. When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson urged for the bill's speedy Congressional approval and it was signed into law on April 11, 1968.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of residential dwellings, and in other residential real estate related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.

Today, federal, state, and municipal laws prohibit discrimination in the sale and rental of housing by property owners and managers, landlords, mortgage lenders, and real estate agents, including the Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Community Reinvestment Act, and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, MA anti-discrimination law M.G.L. c. 151B, and City of Boston ordinance C.B.C 10-3.1.

It is the policy of the City of Boston to see that each individual, regardless of their race, color, religious creed, marital status, military status, handicap, children, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, age, ancestry, sexual preference or source of income shall have equal access to housing.

The City of Boston celebrates April as Fair Housing Month in part because of the anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act in April of 1968, but also to recommit ourselves to creating housing equal opportunities in every neighborhood across the city by eradicating discrimination.

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