SALT LAKE CITY _ On Thursday, April 8, 2021, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall marked the 53rd anniversary of the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act by proclaiming April Fair Housing Month in Salt Lake City.
The landmark legislation — Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 — prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and family status.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development enforces fair housing laws and annually provides Salt Lake City with an average of $5.5 million dollars in new funding to support programs and projects that address housing needs and support community development that uplift and change the lives of residents.
“This funding, and these protections are critical to ensuring the rights of Salt Lake City residents.. I’m grateful for landlords, realtors, lenders and insurers who take housing rights seriously. And I’m grateful for the valuable efforts of organizations like the YWCA, which provide vulnerable populations, including survivors of domestic violence, a path to long-term housing,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.
Fair Housing Month coincides with the national Sexual Assault Awareness Month and comes on the heels of the recent vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The 1994 law strengthened domestic violence protections for women, including prohibitions on housing discrimination.
Access to fair and affordable housing is critical for women and their families who are exiting abusive relationships, said Gabriella Archuleta, public policy analyst for YWCA Utah, which receives HUD funding through the City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development division.
“Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and their families,” Archuleta said. “Lack of affordable housing options is one of the primary barriers to a survivor escaping abuse and we appreciate Salt Lake City’s work to support access to housing.”
That access has become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic as the risks of domestic abuse and sexual violence have increased, she said.
“While housing protection laws have been around for the better part of a century, Salt Lake City is not free from the realities of housing discrimination,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “If residents believe they’ve experienced housing discrimination, there is recourse and I encourage you to reach out to the organizations and agencies that can help.”
Residents who believe they have been discriminated against should contact the Disability Law Center (http://disabilitylawcenter.org/) and the Utah Labor Commission’s Fair Housing Division (https://laborcommission.utah.gov/divisions/utah-antidiscrimination-and-labor-uald/)
An additional focus of Fair Housing Month is Community Development Week, which highlights the role that federal Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnerships Program play in funding community services and most importantly, preserving and building new affordable housing opportunities in Salt Lake City.
This week, Mayor Mendenhall sent a letter to Utah’s Congressional delegations asking them to vote in support of ongoing funding for both programs. Since 2017, Salt Lake City has invested $14,220,869 in our community. Through those funds, we have been able to:
- Provide 7,764 residents with self – sufficiency skills
- Provide 2,336 residents with access to emergency shelter and supportive services
- Provide stable housing for 917 homeless individuals and their families
- 777 households received home improvements to create safe, livable spaces
- 625 individuals with HIV/AIDS stabilized in housing so they can more wholly focus on their mental, medical, and emotional health
- 29 small businesses received grants to improve their businesses
- 4 streets, parks and other City infrastructure was improved leading to a more vibrant community.
###Tags: April Fair Housing Month, Gabriella Archuleta, national Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, YWCA