Fair Housing Choice
Athens-Clarke County is committed to providing equal housing opportunities for existing and future residents of the city. Athens-Clarke County has made a commitment to affirmatively further fair housing to ensure that administered grants are in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Athens-Clarke County is a recipient of federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This means that Athens-Clarke County receives federal funds from HUD to help provide the local community with resources for affordable housing, economic development, and public service.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) programs, among other state and local programs, gives Athens Clarke County the opportunity to assist in the process of providing affordable housing opportunities to Athens Clarke County residents.
What is Fair Housing?
Fair Housing is a legal term used to describe the right to equal opportunity to housing for all covered under the Fair Housing Act. This means an individual of a protected class has the right to pursue renting a home/apartment, buying a house, or obtaining property insurance without discrimination.
What does 'Discrimination' mean?
Discrimination describes the unfair or unjust treatment a person or group of people may receive based on a quality or characteristic they have that differs from the majority of the population; OR unfair or unjust treatment based on what another group or person may believe to be 'acceptable' to societal norms. Discrimination is rooted in hatred and is an attempt to restrict a person or group of people from sharing the same opportunities as another privileged group of people.
Where did the right to Fair Housing come from?
The Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act is a piece of legislation enacted on April 11th, 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson. The act was intended to be an extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure housing rights to individuals in a protected class.
Ultimately, the act prohibits discrimination in transactions of selling, renting, or financing a house based on race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and family status.
Want to learn more about the history of The Fair Housing Act? Visit HUD’s website.
What's a Protected Class?
A protected class is a group or category of individuals who share a common trait that qualify for special protections by law. This protection is usually implemented due to a past history of discrimination by other individuals or organizations who are not a part of this class.
The protected classes covered in The Fair Housing Act include the following:
- Religion or Creed
- National Origin
- Sex (Including gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity)
- Physical or Mental Disability
If you or someone you love is thinking of suicide, please know that help is available to you. The following are crisis hotlines you can contact to get help:
GA Crisis & Access Line - 1(800) 715-4225
24/7 Crisis Textline -
Text HOME to 741741
Does the Fair Housing Act cover all housing?
Mostly. There are a few exceptions, which include the following:
- Owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units.
- Single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent.
- Housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to its members.
All other forms of housing are covered under The Fair Housing Act.
How do I know if I've experienced discrimination while renting or buying a house?
See the graphic above or view the PDF version below (The document is titled 'Examples of Housing Discrimination").
Additionally, you can always contact the following resources to see if your concern meets the requirements needed to file a Fair Housing complaint:
- Call HUD’s hotline to ask any questions you may have about Fair Housing - 1(800) 669-9777. If you’re hearing impaired, please call the TDD line – 1 (800) 927-9275.
- Contact Metro Fair Housing Services: An organization that’s committed to fighting housing discrimination in the state of Georgia. - (404) 524-0000.
After reviewing all of the information, I do think I might be experiencing housing discrimination. I've already contacted HUD and/or Metro Fair Housing. What should I do now?
- Make sure to document all communication with the individual or agency that you filed the complaint against. Written communication would likely be the best form of contact going forward. This can protect both you and the individual/agency involved. If a conversation occurs verbally, be sure to send a follow-up letter or email to make sure you're both on the same page.
- Gather up all of the documents you have regarding the property. This may include the lease, application, deposit information, letters, receipts of payment, any binding contracts, correspondence, etc. Make copies and digitize them if you have the resources to do so.
- Begin to draft a list of individuals who may have information about the incident(s). This can be neighbors, friends/family who were present during any interactions with the individual or agency, and/or witnesses to the incident itself.
- Seek out legal help if it's available to you. See the attached list of resources to find legal aid.
ADA Notice - If you need a reasonable accommodation to receive the provided information in an alternate format, please contact our office at (706) 613-3155.