Early last month our office hosted a public meeting, at the downtown library, of landlords who rent their properties to recipients of Wayne Township assistance. I was pleased that we had a good turnout and were able to answer questions and converse with folks we regularly do business with. Not only did representatives from Fort Wayne Housing Authority attend, several groups, from the larger real estate concerns down to owners of just one or two units were there. We had a good exchange of information and opinions.
The meeting was especially fitting as this month, April, is Fair Housing Month in the United States. On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, which included Title VIII, also known as the Fair Housing Act. This law prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, and (as amended) disability and family status.
In my discussions with the landlords who do business with Wayne Township I am continually impressed by their sense of fairness in dealing with renters. I believe that most everyone is, like myself, a believer in fair housing and in the idea that all individuals regardless of their race, color, national origin disability, gender and family status deserve equal access to rental housing and homeownership opportunities.
In fact, while researching Fair Housing Month the websites I found with the most useful information on the topic were realtor sites. That tells me that professionals in the field really are concerned about doing the right thing.
Whether you are a landlord, a realtor, or in the market for a home and you have questions or concerns about fair housing, I encourage you to contact Metropolitan Human Relations Commission in Fort Wayne for more detailed and technical information on fair housing.
At the Trustee’s Office we assist Wayne Township clients in obtaining or maintaining appropriate shelter by assessing the most “economical and practical” method of relieving the applicant’s emergency need situation.
Our staff reviews an applicant’s request for shelter assistance in detail. This includes reviewing a budget submitted by the client. In many cases an applicant’s shelter expense exceeds their income capacity. Simply stated, the client is struggling to maintain regular shelter payments when he or she has had a loss or decrease in income for various reasons. In those cases we may encourage the client to apply for low-income or senior housing.
Public housing provides decent and safe rentals for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. There are several websites of agencies that provide information for those seeking public housing. The Veteran’s Administration, Brightpoint, and Fort Wayne Housing Authority assist clients with Section 8, Housing Vouchers, Section 42-Tax Credit Properties as well as other shelter needs.
Future budget cuts may mean less money coming from the federal government to support school, housing and social service programs. I would encourage all individuals to take advantage of the resources in our community to ensure that their housing needs are met. I plan for my office to continue giving the best service possible providing temporary shelter assistance to eligible clients.
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