April is National Fair Housing Month! The Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) was enacted as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act on April 11, 1968. In 1988, the state of Georgia passed the Georgia Fair Housing Law (GFHL) to safeguard individuals from housing discrimination in the sale, financing, and rental of a dwelling.
The Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity (GCEO) is charged with enforcing the State of Georgia’s Anti-Discrimination laws in the areas of employment and housing. The GCEO promotes and protects human rights throughout the state, and works to eliminate and prevent discrimination through compliance, investigation, education and outreach, mediation, and enforcement.
GCEO strives to ensure equal treatment of all Georgians and foster a more open and receptive environment in which to conduct business, live, and work. GCEO is dedicated to promoting fair and inclusive communities and workplaces.
In April, GCEO commemorates Fair Housing Month with an annual proclamation ceremony honoring unsung heroes in Fair Housing & Equal Employment. GCEO also participates in various Fair Housing activities hosted by other agencies, organizations, and businesses throughout the state. Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, GCEO has postponed the proclamation ceremony, and will be unable to participate in statewide Fair Housing activities due to non-essential travel restrictions.
In celebration of Fair Housing Month, GCEO is announcing our Small Business and Rural Georgia Fair Housing Initiatives for 2020.
GCEO Supports Small Business
GCEO will assist small businesses in the housing industry by providing two (2) free trainings on state and federal fair housing laws, rules, and regulations in order to expand awareness about the rights and responsibilities of individuals, businesses, organizations, and state agencies as defined by the Georgia Fair Housing Law. Many housing providers who receive fair housing complaints filed against them are small business owners in the business of real estate ranging from landlords, brokers, realty companies, insurers, financial institutions, management companies, advertisement companies, and homeowner’s associations to name a few. A housing provider’s action(s) are often due to a lack of knowledge and awareness of fair housing laws, rules, and regulations. If a small business in the housing industry is found guilty of discrimination, it could result in the small business paying a large settlement to the Complainant, and incurring attorney’s fees, court costs, and a penalty/fine to the State of Georgia ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. GCEO’s Housing Education & Outreach program will aid small businesses in the housing industry by educating their employees and arming them with the tools needed to continue integrating communities by fostering a more inclusive environment for Georgians to live. It will also decrease the vulnerability of the small businesses receiving multiple complaints and enduring costly litigation.
GCEO Connects with Rural Georgia
GCEO will conduct two (2) free technical trainings in areas of rural Georgia with economic challenges and lessening populations. GCEO will provide fair housing training services to local governments in rural Georgia that lack resources to adequately train their workforce on state and federal fair housing laws, rules, and regulations. GCEO's Housing Education & Outreach program will aid local governments and their constituents by providing them with the tools and resources needed to seek and receive federal funds in their efforts to expand economic opportunities, provide affordable housing, and improve living environments for rural Georgia families.
Online registration information for all trainings will be announced at a later date.