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Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project

Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project

Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project The Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project is an information and outreach campaign of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) designed to educate Missourians about their rights and responsibilities under state and federal fair housing laws.

Made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this public awareness effort features targeted activities designed to share the fair housing message with youth, the public, housing industry professionals, and community officials.

What is Fair Housing?

Fair housing means all people have equal access to the housing of their choice that they can afford. Fair housing laws ensure this equal access.

Both the Missouri Human Rights Act and the Federal Fair Housing Act mandate that people have equal housing opportunities and not be subjected to discrimination in housing based upon certain protected categories, including race, color, national origin, religion, physical or mental disability, sex, or for having children in their household.

Fair housing laws apply to the sale or rental of nearly all forms of residences, including apartments, houses, mobile homes, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and even vacant lots to be developed for housing.  Anyone who has control over residential property or real estate financing must obey state and federal fair housing laws, including landlords, rental managers, property owners, real estate agents, bankers, developers, builders, and certain individual homeowners who are selling or renting property.

MCHR and HUD safeguard the protections set out in state and federal fair housing laws and enforce the laws within their jurisdictions. Both MCHR and HUD are committed to preventing discrimination and encouraging the fair treatment of all persons.

Opening Doors for All Missourians

Housing and Urban DevelopmentThe Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project has made a significant impact toward the goal of opening doors for all Missourians. Originally designed to service Missouri’s southeastern communities where nationally-publicized cases of mortgage fraud revealed a dire need for an educational program on fair housing rights and safeguards against predatory lending, the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project has reached an estimated audience of over 100,000 and fostered partnerships with more than 100 local communities and service organizations, resulting in increased fair housing awareness in the region’s diverse population.

In subsequent program years, the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project broadened its scope to provide fair housing education to Missourians in areas adversely affected by natural disasters, including the flood-ravaged communities of southeast Missouri as well as communities like Joplin that are rebuilding and recovering from unprecedented natural events. The expanded project serves both home seekers and providers and includes radio public service announcements and widespread distribution of fair housing literature.

In southeast Missouri, students participated in a youth poster and journalism contest in partnership with Lincoln University Extension, and constituents were offered free workshops and one-on-one housing counseling in collaboration with United Migrant Opportunity Services, an organization primarily serving migrant and seasonal farm workers and food processing employees in the region.

In Joplin, free public presentations provided fair housing information to the community, with special emphasis on reaching underserved populations, including veterans, persons with disabilities, the elderly, low-income families, and minority populations. An analysis of local policies and laws in Jasper and Newton counties for existing barriers to fair housing choice may identify ways to create greater equal housing opportunities and enrich neighborhoods.

MCHR is also expanding and disseminating a practical guide addressing ways to affirmatively further fair housing to be shared with local government officials statewide, a resource to assist local jurisdictions in meeting their responsibility to further fair housing.

For more information about the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project, your fair housing rights and responsibilities, or the MCHR complaint process, call 573-751-3325 or toll-free at 877-781-4236.