March 18, 2017, marked the 20th anniversary of the City of Garland’s Fair Housing Ordinance #5060. The ordinance promotes the opportunity for every person to obtain housing without regard to race, color, sex, religion, handicap, familial status, national origin or age through fair, orderly and lawful procedures. Garland community leaders and members of the 1996-97 City Council were instrumental in the passing of this ordinance.
Fair Housing Ordinance #5060 provided the City of Garland an opportunity to apply for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant funds to create a Fair Housing Assistance Program Agency, known as Garland Fair Housing Services.
For more than 20 years, Garland Fair Housing Services has provided counseling and fair housing investigative services to Garland residents. To date, more than 825 residents have received direct services and assistance including: achieving lawful results in a housing rental, purchase or financing transaction; securing the housing an applicant was qualified to receive; securing the ability to be released from unsafe housing conditions; and securing reasonable accommodations for a disability. Through Garland Fair Housing’s conciliation services, the City has achieved both residential and public interest relief.
Garland Fair Housing Services provides residents with landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities training, as well as education about responsible tenancy, homebuyer preparation, and budgeting and financial management. Residents have learned how to request reasonable accommodations and modifications, which allow a person with disabilities to enjoy his or her housing in comfort. Countless residents have received referrals to legal services, income tax preparation centers, housing voucher application offices, elderly and disabled housing opportunities, homeless prevention services and general information about the Garland Fair Housing Ordinance and the Fair Housing Act.
Access to fair housing programs in all communities is vital to individuals, families and children. Having a place to call home leads to economic empowerment and opportunities, including access to employment, transportation, quality schools, banking opportunities and many other community amenities that enable families to thrive.
In commemoration of the 49th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and the 20th anniversary of the City of Garland’s Fair Housing Ordinance, Mayor Douglas Athas will present a proclamation during the Fair Housing Month Celebration Luncheon on Tuesday, April 4. The luncheon will also feature a screening of the documentary A Man Named Pearl, which tells the inspiring story of Pearl Fryar, a self-taught topiary artist.
Garland Fair Housing Services works to educate residents about fair housing laws and eliminate housing discrimination practices. The vision of Garland Fair Housing Services is for every person to have the opportunity to enjoy his or her home and community as a fundamental human concept free from discrimination.
In addition to celebrating this 20-year milestone, throughout April, Garland Fair Housing services will celebrate National Fair Housing Month with activities and workshops designed to increase awareness of local and federal fair housing laws.
Join the celebration! Click here for a complete list of activities.