Fair Housing Month Celebrated by Nearly 200 People in Lexington, Kentucky
HUD Kentucky Field Office Director Christopher Taylor, Angela Johnson, Dana Mason of the Lexington Housing Authority, and Lexington Housing Authority Executive Director Austin Simms.
Written by: Deborah Knight
Nearly 200 people gathered in Lexington, Kentucky for a Fair Housing Luncheon sponsored by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission to both hear and see the impact of the Fair Housing Month theme "Shared Opportunity in Every Community." This April's theme highlights the importance of every person in America having access to the same housing choices and economic possibilities.
Persons with disabilities are one of the most likely victims of housing discrimination at this time. HUD Kentucky Field Office Director Christopher Taylor spoke about a local disability case in which a complainant requested a reasonable accommodation to fit a medical seat in her shower to bathe for which she had health documentation and the landlord refused. She fell in her bathtub, injuring herself and doing damage to the bathroom and the housing authority required her to pay for the damages and move out. During this ordeal, she filed a fair housing complaint and, while the housing authority did not admit to any wrongdoing, it paid her $9,000, agreed to train its employees on the National Fair Housing Act, and disclose the agreement to its board.
"However, though we have come some of the way, there is much left to do when neighborhoods are still segregated by race and income...This should not and does not have to be the case. The Lexington Housing Authority is one example of hope for a better future for its residents," said Taylor.
He then introduced and presented a leadership award to Mrs. Angela Johnson who shared her story of how she and her family went from living in public housing in Lexington to owning their own home and seeing their children fulfilling their dreams through education and employment.
"Success has different meanings for different people," said Johnson. "My husband and I worked really hard to have a new home for our four sons and couldn't believe we were actually getting our new home with the help of so many people until we were actually at the closing table. We got a brand new home with downpayment assistance through the housing authority and other sources just two blocks from where we lived in the new Equestrian View Subdivision...and we must say that with hard work and dedication, your ZIP Code does not have to determine your success."