Fair Housing

At the urging of President Lyndon Johnson, Congress passed the federal Fair Housing Act only one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. On April 11, 1968, the 1968 act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, and, as amended, handicap and family status concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing. In short, fair housing is the elimination of discriminatory practices and policies in the housing market.

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer is a landmark 1968 United States Supreme Court case which held that Congress could regulate the sale of private property in order to prevent racial discrimination, based on the Thirteenth Amendment.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development is the cabinet agency with the statutory authority to administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act. Examples of violations of fair housing are blockbusting and steering.

Blockbusting, which is also known as panic selling and panic peddling, is an illegal racial discrimination practice wherein real estate brokers attempt to change the racial composition of a neighborhood by encouraging listings and sales in a neighborhood. In short, it is the practice of saying, "You better sell your house! Those people are moving into town! You do not want to live by them, do you?"

Steering is the illegal practice of channeling home seekers to particular areas, either to maintain the homogeneity of an area or to change the character of an area, which limits their choices of where they can live. It is a form of redlining. Redlining is the practice of denying or charging more for things like banking, insurance, health care, or even goods at supermarkets, or of denying jobs to residents in specific, often racially determined, areas. The term "redlining" was coined in the late 1960s by John McKnight, a sociologist and community activist. It originally referred to the practice of marking a red line on a map to delineate the area where banks would not invest; later the term was applied to discrimination against a particular group of people, usually by race or sex, irrespective of geography.