Gov. Rounds proclaims April Fair Housing Month; urges all to abide by law

Gov. Rounds proclaims April Fair Housing Month; urges all to abide by law In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Law, Gov. Michael Rounds has officially proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month in South Dakota.

The Fair Housing Act adopted by Congress and signed into law April 11, 1968 prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).

In his proclamation, unveiled at the South Dakota Housing Development Authority's April 4 board of commissioners meeting, Gov. Rounds said, "I urge all citizens to abide by the Federal Fair Housing Law and to acknowledge the needs of all of our citizens to be afforded housing opportunities free from all discrimination."

South Dakota Housing Board Chairman John Rothstein reaffirmed the authority's commitment to support President Bush and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Mel Martinez's commitment to increase minority homeown- ership nationwide. SDHDA partners with Wells Fargo Mortgage to accommodate HUD-guaranteed mortgages on the State's Indian Reservations.

Sioux Empire Housing Partnership in Sioux Falls has begun special Homebuyer Education classes targeted to the Hispanic population, and the State's Homebuyer Education Resource Organization (H.E.R.O), supported by the Citigroup Foundation and SDHDA, is encouraging expanded pre- and post-homebuyer education courses throughout the state.

South Dakota, like other states, has seen a tremendous growth in minority population, particularly Sioux Falls. Gov. Rounds is taking this opportunity to remind South Dakotans of the opportunities they present to the home rental, sales, and lending communities.

SDHDA Chairman Rothstein also noted that SDHDA has participated in the development and rehabilitation of over 438 units of rental housing on Indian reservations and an additional 51 units in communities located in the checkerboard areas of other Indian reservations of South Dakota.

Currently the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development enforce the Fair Housing Law. The Department of Justice litigates Fair Housing cases in court, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development investigates and attempts to resolve complaints of housing discrimination.

The South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) is an independent, quasi-public agency that finances and develops affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate-income residents through- out South Dakota. SDHDA is totally self-supporting and receives no tax money, appropriations or other funding from the state.

SDHDA does not discriminate against any person because of race, color, creed, religion, sex, handicapped, familial status or national origin.

For more information about the Fair Housing Act, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Web site at www.hud.gov.

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