During the excitement of the Civil Rights movement, the nation was reevaluating every industry that could deny an American certain unalienable rights based on race, color, religion, etc. From reserving the right for equal educational responsibilities to living wherever they could afford to pay the rent, each discriminated American was fighting for the legal right to have the same opportunities as everyone else.
The equal and fair housing of citizens was one of those issues at the forefront of the movement. Citizens were frustratingly denied the opportunity to live in a nice neighborhood based on the color of their skin, their religion or nation of origin. It wasn’t a question of money. Some homeowners weren’t interested in the money; they were interested in the social status. It wasn’t just homeowners either. Some apartments refused to rent based on the color of skin or other discriminatory factors as well. To combat this unfair practice, Congress created and passed the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
Under the grounds of the original act, the federal government outlawed the following:
- The practice of refusing to sell a property to a person on the grounds of race, color, religion, or nation of origin.
- The selective advertisement of a sale to anyone based on race, color, religion, or nation of origin.
- The discrimination of terms, conditions, or privileges of the buyer or renter based on race, color, religion, or nation of origin.
- The coercion, threats, intimidation, or otherwise interference with a person’s basic housing rights based on the four aforementioned considerations.
Since then, minor amendments have been added to more effectively outlaw discrimination in all of its forms. The Fair Housing Amendment makes it possible for anyone that has the means to secure a place in the world, whether through purchasing a home or renting a property.
Today, the act goes one step further to secure equal rights to lending opportunities. Financial institutions cannot deny a VA loan or mortgage based on a citizen’s race, color, religion, or nation of origin. Since the basic qualifications of paying back a loan have more to do with financial issues like a person’s income and credit history, those should be the only things that VA home loan officers and mortgage lenders consider when determining eligibility.
For the past forty years, citizens have grown in their ability to purchase or rent property on equal grounds. Financial opportunities for VA loans and mortgages have been granted more readily across the country to everyone that is financially secure. Change has been hard for some people, but the government has been ready and able to step in when discrimination has taken place. Today, citizens are enjoying their right to live the American dream more equally than they ever have before, and that is something to celebrate.