50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act

By Theresa Douthart

Housing Resource Specialist, Valeo Behavioral Health Care


History of the Federal Fair Housing Act

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.   The original act was passed by Congress one month after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In Memphis, Tennessee.  This act was amended in 1988 by Congress. Annually, the month of April is designated as “Fair Housing Month” across America.

Who is Included in this Federal Act

1The Fair Housing Act- Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability)



Disability Discrimination Emotional Support Animal

The Fair Housing Act was initiated as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 amended in 1988 to protect those with disabilities from landlord discrimination.  If a person has a documented emotional support animal a landlord cannot refuse to rent to that individual. An individual can make a request called a “Reasonable Accommodation” to the landlord to allow their emotional support animal in a rental situation that has a “no pet” policy. In addition, the landlord cannot charge the applicant or tenant an animal deposit or fee to have the animal.  The animal owner must comply with all reasonable rules set by the landlord regarding the animal in the housing unit. If an individual does not follow the reasonable rules set by the landlord, the landlord can evict the tenant and charge for any damages the animal has caused. The tenant would be liable to pay for these charges tied to their emotional support animal.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversee the Fair Housing Laws in the Unites States. If a renter feels their rights have been violated, they can file a complaint with HUD to investigate discriminatory situations.   



This article is not meant to cover every situation regarding this Act.  An individual is encouraged to become familiar with the protections under the Fair Housing Act.


Valeo Behavioral Health Care   



Crisis Services

400 SW Oakley

Topeka, KS  66606

24 Hour Crisis Line           



National Suicide Prevention Life Line



Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition



Family Service and Guidance Center  (18 and under)

325 SW Frazier            

Topeka, KS  66606

24 Hour Crisis Number



Healing after Loss to Suicide Group  (HeALS)

Sandy Reams – Group Facilitator




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