Franklin County and Columbus officials said Monday that they were partnering with the Columbus Urban League to prevent housing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
City and county leaders held the first of several strategy meetings to take aim at the discrimination, 10TV’s Ashleigh Barry reported.
A new federal law prohibits landlords and home-loan lenders from discriminating against people who identify themselves as part of the LGBT community.
Until this year, the federally funded Fair Housing Program was limited to focusing on discrimination complaints based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability or family status, according to the Franklin County Commissioners.
Through the new rules, no one searching for a home can be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation when trying to access HUD-funded programs or federally insured mortgages, Barry reported.
Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown said that it was time for landlords to educate themselves.
“They don’t know who is discriminating, and they really don’t know what is discrimination and what isn’t discrimination,” Brown said.
Karla Rothan of Stonewall Columbus, which offers services to Columbus’ LGBT community, said that her organization receives discrimination reports on a daily basis.
“When you’ve been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, you yourself are fearful to let others know that that’s why you’re being discriminated against,” Rothan said.
Rothan said that Stonewall planned to educate the community about the new law, Barry reported.
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