Each April we celebrate the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act to raise awareness about housing discrimination and the positive role that inclusive, affordable housing plays in thriving communities. Fair Housing is the right to equal opportunity in housing choice and the right to rent, buy, finance, and live in a home free from discrimination or harassment. Vermont’s Fair Housing Project, based at Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, is coordinating Fair Housing Month activities, including Fair Housing Friday events taking place throughout the month on Fridays at 12:30 p.m.
Minelle Sarfo-Adu, a South Burlington High School junior, chose racial discrimination in housing as the subject for her Big Picture project and was the featured presenter for the April 9th Fair Housing Friday event. Her presentation, Fair Housing: Racial Discrimination & Community Impacts, included local examples of racial discrimination in housing. Several South Burlington residents, including Affordable Housing Committee members and City staff, virtually attended her presentation. Minelle concluded by urging residents to take action when they observe or experience discrimination.
According to the 2010 Census, 2.5% of South Burlington residents identified as Black/African American, compared to 4.7% in Burlington and 8.1% in Winooski. Only 27% of Black/African American households in South Burlington owned their homes, compared to 66% of white households. When the 2020 Census results are published later this year, South Burlington will learn whether these disparities have improved, worsened, or stayed the same.
Resources for learning more about fair housing, including connections to municipal planning, are a core component of Vermont’s Housing-Ready Toolbox at www.housingdata.org. For facts and figures related to South Burlington’s residents and its housing stock, check out the South Burlington Affordable Housing Committee’s Resources webpage.
The mission of the South Burlington Affordable Housing Committee is to increase the availability of safe and affordable housing in the City, particularly for households with low and moderate incomes.