With April celebrated as National Fair Housing Month, Richland County has teamed up with nearby governments on a billboard campaign to increase awareness of housing discrimination.
National Fair Housing Month traces its origins to the Fair Housing Act. Passed by Congress in 1968, the law aims to protect people from discrimination when they rent or buy a home, get a mortgage, seek housing assistance or engage in other housing-related activities.
With the law’s anniversary in mind, Richland and Lexington counties and the City of Columbia developed billboards to showcase National Fair Housing Month. The signs, which include the tag line “Civil Rights: It Still Matters,” will go up in three locations in unincorporated Richland County: 4630 Devine St., 203 S. Assembly St. and 5317 Forest Drive.
The Fair Housing Act also prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or family status. Richland County will release a series of seven videos highlighting each of the protected characteristics.
The videos will run on RCTV (Spectrum channel 1302 or AT&T U-verse channel 99) and feature the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hotline for residents who are experiencing discrimination. Residents who feel they have been discriminated against should call 800-669-9777 or 800-877-8339 to speak with a HUD fair housing specialist.
“We want to provide awareness to those people who may feel like they are being discriminated against that there is a help line out there where they can reach out and get assistance,” said Adrienne Jackson, project coordinator for Richland County Housing.
For more information on fair housing issues in Richland County, reach the Office of Community Development at 803-576-2230 or visit the County’s website: www.richlandcountysc.gov. Visit the HUD website to learn more about National Fair Housing Month.