TWC Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Texas Fair Housing Act
AUSTIN, June 19, 2014 – This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Texas Fair Housing Act, which was signed into law by then-Governor William P. Clements in 1989. The law prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, national origin, disability and familial status. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is charged with investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination in both housing and employment.
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Texas Fair Housing Act, TWC’s Civil Rights Division (CRD) is announcing a new Fair Housing Mediation Program to begin on July 1, 2014. For those cases in which complainants and respondents agree to participate, a trained fair housing mediator will help the parties negotiate a resolution to the complaint. The program will be free of charge to parties involved in a CRD fair housing complaint, thereby saving time and money on investigation and litigation. Mediation is confidential. Communications between the parties during the mediation process do not become public record without the consent of all parties.
“It may have been 25 years since the Texas Fair Housing Act was signed into law, but it’s just as important today as it was back in 1989,” said Commissioner Thomas M. Anderson, chair of the Texas Commission on Human Rights (TCHR), the oversight board of the Civil Rights Division at TWC. “All Texans have the right to fair housing and TCHR will continue to enforce the Texas Fair Housing Act against practices that violate fair housing.”
TCHR is comprised of seven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate. Its members are: Chair Anderson, Toni R. Glover, Veronica V. Stidvent, Michelle H. Diggs, Sharon Breckenridge Thomas, Shara Michalka and Danny L. Osterhout.
In recent years, CRD has made significant strides in helping Texas residents with housing issues under the Texas Fair Housing Act, including:
From state fiscal year 1989-2013, the Civil Rights Division (CRD) investigated and closed 6,161 housing discrimination complaints. In 2,212 of those cases, the parties successfully reached an agreement. More than $2.4 million in relief was obtained for individuals who filed claims alleging housing discrimination in Texas during that period. Parties successfully reached agreements in 36 percent of CRD’s cases with monetary relief to complainants, approvals of requests for accommodation, non-monetary relief such as housing, and/or public interest relief such as fair housing training for respondents.
Individuals can learn more about housing discrimination by visiting: www.texasworkforce.org/crd/victim_housediscrim.html.
CRD offers training to employers and housing providers with the goal of preventing and eliminating unlawful civil rights discrimination. Individuals, employers and housing providers may contact TWC’s CRD toll free at 888-452-4778.
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