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Powerful Ways To End Local Housing Discrimination

Even if we built 3000 or 6000 affordable housing units, we’d still have a homelessness crisis, since so many people are denied housing because they have a voucher or a past eviction or a criminal record. And those denials are often a proxy for racism.

Redlining is not just history–it continues today in many less obvious ways.

The powerful speakers at the workshop led by ISAAC Housing Task Force and TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation) opened our eyes about our local history and about the current forms of housing discrimination going on right here, right now.

Historian Dr. Michelle S. Johnson, librarian Matt Smith, and Fair Housing Center VP and new City Commissioner Patrese Griffin are the powerful speakers in our workshop on “Healing through Exploring the Local History of Segregation and Racism.” It was so well received in February that we repeated it in June and put it on Facebook live, so anyone can watch at these two links:

Part 1 Video
Part 2 Video

We hope it will inspire the community to stand with us in asking for an end to housing discrimination.

Grand Rapids, Lansing, East Lansing, Jackson, and Ann Arbor have all adopted ordinances that prohibit current forms of housing discrimination.

The Housing Task Force and TRHT, following the lead of Commissioner Patrese Griffin, are advocating for our local municipalities to join this wave of change and adopt:

  • Fair Housing Ordinance amendments that would prohibit “Source of Income” discrimination (against people with housing vouchers),
  • Fair Chance Laws that prohibit automatic rejection of housing applications from people with a past eviction or a criminal record, without looking at the circumstances of that record and people’s more recent records in the community,
  • Rental Application Fee ordinances prohibiting fees higher than the cost of processing the applications and fees when no apartments are available.

Many local landlords already work closely with our housing agencies and refuse to discriminate, but there are still other property owners’ affordable units that are kept vacant because of discrimination!  Please stand with us in calling for an end to housing discrimination. Watch for more information on how you can support.

– Housing Task Force members