Did you know that discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, handicap and family status is unlawful? Did you know that housing discrimination laws make it unlawful for a housing provider to make print or publish, in print or online, any statement or advertisement that states a preference based on these classes? If you answered no to any one of these questions, the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) is here to help.

Every day, the FCHR urges all Floridians who may be seeking to rent, own, buy or insure a home to become educated about their fair housing rights and how to take action if they suspect discrimination. We are the state agency charged with investigating cases of housing discrimination, and we want to help you determine if you are a victim of housing discrimination.

Last year alone, the FCHR considered 169 cases where housing discrimination was alleged. Even with the passage of the Act, the problem still persists.

As Executive Director of the FCHR, I am committed to support our mission to investigate all forms of discrimination in employment, public accommodations, whistleblower retaliation, and housing. I often have the opportunity to inform people that they have the power to fight housing discrimination, and that contacting a local fair housing agency or the FCHR is the first step in that process.

While unlawful discrimination continues to keep many individuals and families from obtaining the housing of their choice, the passage of the Fair Housing Act took a giant step forward in addressing this issue, a half a century ago.

If you feel as if you are a victim of housing discrimination, I urge you to contact the FCHR at (850)488-7082 or visit our website at http://fchr.myflorida.com/, and allow us the opportunity to assist you.