Why fair housing matters to…

As part of a Fair Housing Innovative Partnership – Education Outreach Initiative (FHIP-EOI) grant, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) created a series of first-person videos to understand how fair housing impacts all people. The idea was to interview individuals protected by fair housing laws, as well as employers, economists, developers, housing providers, planners and advocates.

These videos are available for sharing via social media, and provide first-hand, unscripted perspectives of real Idahoans and experts in several fields.

Most Americans understand the Fair Housing Act as landmark Civil Rights legislation prohibiting housing discrimination against members of protected classes and requiring reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Increasingly, research shows overall economic and social benefits made possible through more diverse communities, and economic opportunities created through housing choice—the right to live where we choose and can afford.

Economic opportunity depends on several factors made possible through fair housing choice, including access to essential community resources like employment, education, social services, recreation and transportation. At a very basic level, housing choice lets us build social capital—the network of trusted relationships and connections that can lead to better jobs, child care, and civic engagement.

As several interviewees point out, the social diversity made possible through fair housing is essential to a more diverse and resilient economy. Members of protected classes bring fresh perspective, ideas and energy that can boost productivity and efficiency; they become economic producers and entrepreneurs who create jobs. At the same time, they are consumers helping drive demand for more diverse products and services, which also creates additional employment opportunities. All of this generates economic energy and demand for taxable goods and services.

As author Jim Tankersley (The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True History of America’s Middle Class) sums it up,

…if you could give me one thing to do to supercharge the economy, I would say, end discrimination across the American economy. Discrimination is holding back our economy. It’s holding back our middle class.

Please take a few moments to explore these first-person videos to understand the importance fair housing through a different lens, and help spread the word by sharing them with others.

Spanish-language interviews | En Español

Neighbor-on-neighbor hate crimes violate Fair Housing Act

Indiana Man Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime for Making Racially Motivated Threats Toward Black Neighbor and to Unlawful Possession of Firearms

Many people assume the Fair Housing Act only applies to situations involving landlord/tenant interactions or the sale, purchase or advertising of housing. But the Act also applies in cases of tenant-on-tenant or neighbor-on-neighbor harassment.

Shepherd Hoehn, 51, plead guilty to “criminal interference with housing rights and a weapons charge” (firearms possession while a habitual user of marijuana is illegal under Indiana and federal law). Hoehn made threats based on race to intimidate his neighbor and to intimidate someone exercising his right to fair housing in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3631. The guilty plea is the latest action in the case since the FBI exercised a federal search warrant on Hoehn’s property on July 1, 2020.

“Hoehn’ s hateful and threatening conduct, motivated by racial intolerance, is an egregious crime that will not be tolerated by the Justice Department,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan of the Civil Rights Division. “Every person has a right to occupy, enjoy and feel safe in their homes, regardless of race, color or national origin. We will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals and vigorously prosecute hate crime cases.”

Hoehn was found guilty of displays intended to intimidate and threaten his neighbor, including a cross burning; placing Nazi symbolism and threatening racial slurs on his fence, blasting racially charged music toward the neighbor’s home, and pelting the neighbor’s home with eggs.

“Hoehn’s sentencing date has not been set at this time. Hoehn faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the charged offenses.”

Read more here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/indiana-man-pleads-guilty-hate-crime-making-racially-charged-motivated-threats-toward-black

Seven Days: Passage of the Fair Housing Act

One week in 1968 changed official U.S. policy towards segregation. Watch ‘Seven Days’ to see how the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. focused political will to address America’s legacy of discrimination. #FairHousingFriday #MLK #CivilRights