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. When the Fair Housing Act was passed 53 years ago, it sought to promote diverse and inclusive communities in which everyone could thrive, and have access to equitable resources and opportunities. In 1988, Georgia passed the Georgia Fair Housing Law (GFHL), which is substantially equivalent to the FHA. The GFHL was enacted to safeguard individuals from housing discrimination in the sale, financing, and rental of a dwelling. The GFHL continues to preserve and further the interests, rights, and privileges of individuals by advancing fair housing priorities to ensure that all Georgians can achieve housing equity.
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 civil 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 by fostering 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 the areas of Fair Housing & Equal Employment, and by participating in Fair Housing activities throughout the state. Unfortunately, due to social distancing guidelines, GCEO has postponed the proclamation ceremony until April 2022. In lieu of the ceremony, GCEO will host a one-day virtual Fair Housing Conference in partnership with our federal and local partners, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), & Metro Fair Housing Services, Inc. on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 from 9:00am-3:00pm. To attend the Fair Housing conference, please register via the button below. In addition, GCEO will participate in various statewide and national Fair Housing activities this month including the City of Albany's Fair Housing Webinar on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
Please follow us on our social media platforms for weekly Fair Housing & Equal Employment updates and check back frequently for the latest news.
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.