Fair housing symposium emphasizes ‘Equal Opportunity for All’

Jacksonville Human Rights Commission’s annual event highlights importance of knowing your rights

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Human Rights Commission hosted its annual Fair Housing Symposium on Saturday.

This year’s theme was “Equal Opportunity for All - Fair Housing: Safe, Accessible & Free of Harassment.”

Whether it was a question about a landlord harassing you or how to you make your home accessible, Jacksonville Human Rights Commission Executive Director Wendy Byndloss said it’s important people know their fair housing rights.

“Their right to have a safe home, to have an accessible home, a home that’s free of discrimination and harassment,” Byndloss said. “They have options if they feel they are not safe in their home or if they’re being harassed or discriminated in some way.”

The event also celebrated the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination when it comes to the sale, rental and financing of housing.

Delmas “Dedee” Harper, a landlord and a real estate broker, said she learned a lot of information he plans to take back to his agents and communities.

“Legal information, how to abide by the laws and update you on any legal activities, and basic changes that are happening in our community,” Harper said.

Harper and dozens of others gathered in the conference room of the public library in Downtown Jacksonville for the symposium to hear from experts and advocates on the topics of sexual harassment, LGBTQ discrimination, disability rights and service animals versus emotional support animals.

Housing discrimination is against the law. One way to stop it is to report it.

To file a housing discrimination complaint, call the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777 or you can report an incident online at www.HUD.gov/fairhousing.

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