What is Fair Housing?

Confronting segregation & fighting discrimination

We know that not all New Yorkers have equal access to the opportunity our city has to offer due to historic and present day injustices, which especially impact communities of color.

Portrait of an elderly couple overlaid on buildings

The fight for fair housing has a long history in New York City and nationwide – here are three important things to know:

THE FAIR HOUSING ACT (1968) comes out of CIVIL RIGHTS ERA ACTIVISM and protects you from discrimination when you are renting, buying, or financing your home, based on your:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Family status

The City of New York passed the nation’s first anti-discrimination law in housing in 1951. Today, the NEW YORK STATE and NEW YORK CITY HUMAN RIGHTS LAWS include additional protections based on:

  • Age
  • Citizenship
  • Lawful job or source of income
  • Gender, gender identity, or gender expression
  • Marriage or partnership status
  • Current children or plans to have children in the future
  • Sexual orientation
  • Experience as a survivor of domestic violence, stalking, or sex offenses
  • Military service

THE FAIR HOUSING ACT also requires cities to affirmatively further fair housing. This mandate is the inspiration behind Where We Live NYC. Through this effort, we will take proactive steps to confront segregation and address unequal access to opportunity through a balanced approach:

  • Enabling people to move to the neighborhood of their choice or stay in their current neighborhood, even as it changes
  • Investing equitably in neighborhoods to ensure that all communities have the resources they need to thrive

learn more

Visit our resources page to get more information on your rights, file a complaint, or get support with other housing challenges.

Watch the “where we live matters” video on our city’s history of segregation, discrimination, and fair housing: