Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity
The Fair Housing Act
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, or the Fair Housing Act, protects individuals from discrimination in the rental, sale, and financing of housing and in other housing-related transactions. Under the Fair Housing Act, it is against the law for a housing provider to do any of the following because of a consumer’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing
- Refuse to negotiate for the rental or sale of housing
- Make housing unavailable or deny that housing is available
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for the sale or rental of housing
- Advertise in a discriminatory way
- Threaten, coerce, or intimidate anyone exercising fair housing rights
The Fair Housing Act is a very broad law prohibiting discrimination in apartments and other rental housing, public and subsidized housing, homes for sale, condominiums, mobile home parks, dormitories, nursing homes, group homes, homeless shelters, and nonprofit housing programs. Mortgage lending, appraisals, homeowners insurance, and zoning and land use are also covered under the Fair Housing Act.
Assessment of Fair Housing
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is a legal requirement that federal agencies and federal grantees, such as Wyoming County and Trehab, further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. In addition to combating discrimination, AFFH requires these entities to overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics as defined by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all related statutes.
Fair Housing Resources
HUD Fair Housing Link: https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/FHEO_BOOKLET_ENG.PDF
DCED Fair Housing Link:
Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) Q&A:
Fair Housing Complaints
Housing discrimination related to race, color, sex, national origin, religion, familial status, or disability is prohibited by Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Federal Fair Housing Act); the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act adds the additional protected classes of age and ancestry. If you have unlawfully experienced housing discrimination, please contact Wyoming County’s Fair Housing Officer, Dennis Phelps, at 570-278-5227 or one of the resources below:
Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania
- Telephone: (267) 419-8918
- Website: https://www.equalhousing.org/
Fair Housing Protections for People with Disabilities
Under the Fair Housing Act, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person’s major life activities. Housing providers are required to make reasonable accommodations, which are changes in the rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. A simple example of a reasonable accommodation would be to waive a “no pets” policy for a person with a disability who requires an assistance animal. The Fair Housing Act also requires housing providers to allow tenants to make reasonable modifications, or physical alterations, to their housing unit. Examples of reasonable modifications include installation of a wheelchair ramp or grab bars in the bathroom. Generally modifications are made at the tenant’s expense, unless the housing receives HUD funding that requires the provider to bear the cost of reasonable modifications.
According to fair housing law, “reasonable” means that the request: 1) Does not cause an undue financial and administrative burden to the housing provider; 2) Does not cause a basic change in the nature of the housing program available; 3) Will not cause harm or damage to others; and 4) Is technologically possible.
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act provides additional protections by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age (defined as over 40) and against handlers and trainers of assistance animals for people with disabilities. Additionally, many municipalities have enacted local anti-discrimination ordinances that ensure equal access to housing regardless of additional protected classes such as marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, source of income, and other characteristics.
Trehab complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all related statutes. Any person who believes that s/he has been unlawfully discriminated against in activities funded by Trehab may file a formal complaint within 180 days following the date of the alleged incident.
Pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations (“Section 504’), no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Trehab does not discriminate in access to, participation in, or treatment, or employment in, its programs or activities. Grievance procedures for any person who believes that s/he has been discriminated against or denied equal opportunity or access to programs or services may file a complaint with Wyoming County’s Section 504 Officer,
1 Courthouse Sq.
Tunkhannock, PA 18657
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development FHEO/Regional III Office Mid-Atlantic Office
100 Penn Square East, 12th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 861-7643
Fax: (215) 656-3449
TTY: (800) 927-9275