April is National Fair Housing month. For the 11th year, Ft. Myers will host a fair housing summit Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Dr. Carrie Robinson Community Center, 2990 Edison Ave. in downtown Fort Myers from 8am-12pm.
Officials from the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will give presentations about how they handle violations of the fair housing act.
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 protects people from discrimination in home sales, rentals and financing based on race, color, religion, gender and ability.
Jeanie Sutton, with Lee County’s Human and Veteran’s Services, said on Gulf Coast Live unfortunately it’s often hard to know when housing discrimination is happening.
“If you have a high number of applicants, it makes it easier for landlords to discriminate, because they can pick and choose who they want,” said Sutton.
So Sherri Campanale, with the Housing Authority of the City of Ft. Myers, also said on Gulf Coast Live the summit is a great learning opportunity for both landlords and tenants.
“We bring the professionals to explain what fair housing is and all of the different categories and what resources are available to individuals who feel they may be discriminated or to prevent discrimination cases in the future,” said Campanale.
Lee County’s Jeanie Sutton said in the past, Lee County’s Human and Veterans Services paid particular attention to impoverished areas for housing discrimination. Now, HUD requires a more comprehensive look county-wide which means branching out to other areas they haven’t really looked at before, like Lehigh Acres and Bonita Springs.