Fair Housing in a Pandemic In a Place of Non-Enforcement

Why is it important to know law?

We need to know because there are loop-holes that protect interests of those who know…for those who don’t know, well, they fall subject to “the extra”.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 made it illegal to discriminate in housing for everything imaginably relevant at the time, except, age. The rights of children are not included. The rights of the elderly are not included. Guarantors (cough, cough, parents) have no rights.

Owners are protected by this phrase:

“No exception can be made for financial hardship, academic changes, family matters, medical issues, roommate conflict or any other reason.”

Written before 2020, no date is indicated, this standard phrase keeps tenants locked into bad deals…

Amendments to the FHA of 1968, made law in 1988 by the 100th Congress are interesting though.

This clause–States that nothing in this Act requires that a dwelling shall be made available to an individual whose tenancy: (1) would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals; this clause…

Familial status is defined with numbers (<18) and a context. Living with a parent was not cause for discrimination but he sits in the shadows–older than 18, not technically living with parents and yet dependent…

Then there is the impotence of state-level legislation that includes statements like this:

“There is currently no state agency that enforces provisions in the Act, and because most landlord/tenant relations are private transactions, disputes that arise between landlord and tenants are generally considered private matters.”

What good is an Act or a law that cannot be enforced? This clause falls with the thud of a dropped phone on carpet. It is meaningless.

Laws are designed to protect capitalist interests of land owners, until they are written to protect the people.

With only a few months before November and days before my mail-in ballot is due, I review the work of progressive congressional representatives from my father’s home state of New York. Challenging Act 20 and 22 in Puerto Rico, Serrano, Velázquez, Grijalva, and Ocasio-Cortez demand transparency for Puerto Rico.

All of this brings me back to my two passions: my family sun-shine and my teaching/learning experiences.

The concept of fair housing in times of pandemic has brought me to an important understanding about a few things…still thinking…Hamilton comes on tomorrow. You say you want a revolution? Yes. In fact I do.


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