Today, ACC staff and participants were pleased to welcome Massachusetts Fair Housing intern, Margaret Curran, in our weekly incubator meeting to inform us housing discrimination. As always, the meeting began with participant introductions. We all shared one thing we were interested in learning about today, a specific question for Margaret, or even a time that they have witnessed housing discrimination.

Some common interests our participants had were to learn about discrimination regarding disabled individuals, individuals that receive rental assistance, and race discrimination. Luckily for us, Margaret was pleased to cover our inquiries and also taught us much more information about discrimination and legalities.

Margaret taught us about both federal and state protected categories under the Fair Housing Laws. These protected categories mean it is illegal to discriminate a person because of their inclusion in one of these categories. Federal Laws protect discrimination in regards to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, families, and disabilities; while state laws protect discrimination regarding marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status, ancestry, public assistance, rental assistance, or genetic information. Some other topics we covered were families with children and lead paint, domestic violence and CORI.

We encourage participants to share any information they learned with friends and family who may be searching for housing or currently in housing if they believe they are facing any type of discrimination. Margaret encourages that individuals that believe they may be discriminated against due to one of these categories contact the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center to allow them to investigate. If this organization finds that an individual is discriminated against by a landlord, the Mass Fair Housing Center will often sue the landlord and give a monetary compensation to the victim of discrimination.

We were all thankful for Margaret’s enlightening meeting and learned a lot of new information about the laws protecting individuals against housing discrimination.

For further information regarding fair housing, contact:

Massachusetts Fair Housing Center

57 Suffolk Street

Holyoke, Ma 01040

413 539 9796

Please join us for next week’s meeting 1/31/18 at 10:00 with Helen Fortier for our Healing Singing Circle!

By: Erin Ransom