Equal and free access to housing choice is fundamental to meeting essential needs and pursuing personal, educational, employment or other goals. Because housing choice is so essential, fair housing is a goal that Government, public officials, and private citizens must strive toward if equality of opportunity is to become a reality. If you have questions about Fair Housing rights within the City of Bellingham, contact the City's Community Development Division.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) enforces the Fair Housing Act and protects people against discrimination in housing. Individuals who believe that they have been discriminated against in the area of housing due to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability are able to file a complaint with the regional office of HUD. The local regional office that has jurisdiction over Bellingham is located in Seattle.
Discrimination complaints may also be filed with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (HRC). The HRC enforces a state law, and equivalent federal laws, which prohibits different treatment in the areas of employment, housing, places of public accommodations (like restaurants and movie theaters), and in credit and insurance transactions.
On February 9, 2011, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a memo outlining guidance to make it clear "that residents who are denied or evicted from housing as a result of domestic violence may have basis to file a discrimination complaint with HUD under the federal Fair Housing Act".