City of Columbia celebrating 50 years of fair housing

The City of Columbia is celebrating 50 years of fair housing in our community. The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended) was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968.  

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings and in other housing-related transactions, based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.  The City of Columbia Code also provides protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These laws are designed to remedy systemic racism and to provide equality and dignity in housing to all citizens.

The recognition during April will include the annual Fair Housing and Lending Seminar scheduled for April 5-6, a proclamation declaring April as Fair Housing and Lending Month and a history display in the lobby of City Hall through the month of April. 

The City’s Annual Fair Housing and Lending Seminar will be held on Thursday, April 5, from noon to 4:30 p.m. and on Friday, April 6, from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.  Experts will present information about fair housing and lending laws, discrimination and the investigation of complaints, the Missouri Human Rights Act, the Columbia Community Land Trust, the impact of redlining, the history of fair housing and lending in Missouri and more. The seminar is free and open to the public and will be held at City Hall, 701 E. Broadway. More information about the Annual Fair Housing and Lending Seminar

The proclamation declaring April as Fair Housing and Lending Month will be presented by Columbia Mayor Brian Treece on the afternoon of Thursday, April 5 at the Fair Housing and Lending Seminar. Treece will also present a special proclamation to two citizens of Columbia on Friday, April 6 at the Fair Housing and Lending Seminar.   

A fair housing history display will be set up for the month of April on the first floor of City Hall. The display shows the local efforts of then-Mayor George Nickolaus, churches, community organizations and citizens who attempted to pass a fair housing ordinance in Columbia in the 1960s.  The display features newspaper articles, advertisements, an original ballot from the March 19, 1968 election, a copy of the vote tally from the election, and copies of fair housing pledge cards signed by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Schmidt and Mr. and Mrs. Eliot Battle from the collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri.