Civil Rights Panel to Examine Housing Discrimination in Vermont

Aug 03, 2015, 15:10 ET from U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Vermont Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Committee) will convene a public meeting to examine the persistence of housing discrimination in Vermont.

What:  Briefing of the Vermont Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
When:  Monday, August 10, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Where: Vermont State House 115 State Street Montpelier, VT 05633-5301

Forty-seven years ago President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (FHA), a federal law aimed at ending blatant housing discrimination against African Americans. The law also proscribes housing discrimination based on national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.

In the last few months, there has been more attention on housing discrimination. In June, President Obama announced new rules against racial discrimination in the housing market and the Supreme Court upheld the use of the disparate impact analysis under the Fair Housing Act. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would provide $39.2 million to fight housing discrimination under HUD's 2015 Fair Housing Initiatives Program.

Despite laws banning housing discrimination, Vermont housing analysts say it is an ongoing issue in Vermont and that discrimination is sometimes subtle. In 2014, Vermont Legal Aid released the results of a two-year study it undertook to look at housing discrimination in Vermont. According to Vermont Legal Aid, the testing results demonstrate "preferential treatment toward white testers of U.S. origin without children and without an apparent disability.

The Advisory Committee will hear from government officials, representatives of advocacy organizations, and other experts to better understand the scope of housing discrimination in Vermont and potential solutions to remedy the problem.

"Past reports by the Vermont State Advisory Committee have brought about significant policy changes throughout our state," said Committee chair, Diane Snelling. "The Committee's review of fair housing issues is timely and compelling."

The meeting is open to the public.

The Vermont Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has established state advisory committees to advise the Commission about civil rights issues in their states that are within the Commission's jurisdiction.  More specifically, the committees are authorized to receive reports, suggestions, and recommendations from individuals, public officials, and representatives of public and private organizations in response to committee inquiries; forward advice and recommendations to the Commission; and to assist the Commission in its public education and outreach efforts. The committees are comprised of state citizens who serve without compensation.  

For Information Contact:
Diane Snelling, Chair

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SOURCE U.S. Commission on Civil Rights