50 years ago this April, with the passage of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed into law “the promises of a century.” Title VIII, also known as the Fair Housing Act, substantially expanded the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which sought to end segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Fair Housing Act broadened protections in the 1964 legislation by additionally prohibiting discrimination in the rental, sale, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and sex. In 1988, Title VIII was again amended to, among other things, establish protections against discrimination based on disability or familial status, including the presence of a child under the age of 18 years as well as pregnant women.
The Fair Housing Act establishes the legal foundation from which organizations such as Austin Tenants Council fight for safe, decent, and fair on a daily basis. Since 1973 ATC has fought for Texans statewide to enforce the historic mandate enshrined in the federal and state Fair Housing Acts. ATC’s fair housing specialists diligently strive to ensure that anyone experiencing discrimination related to housing understands their rights and how to enforce them.