LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Leaders at the Lexington Fair Housing Council describe themselves as civil rights law advocates. The council serves as the only private non-profit fair housing council in the Commonwealth, investigating housing discrimination claims, is a resource for housing, and provides training and outreach.
The council opens up discussions about lifestyle, questions, confrontations, and conflicts people encounter that dictate where and how they access housing, according to LFHC Intake Specialist, Dayzaughn Graves.
There are nine protected classes that LFHC advocates for, but they say there are more that continue to be discriminated against.
Graves says, "Source of income is actually something that is not protected in Lexington, that is protected in Louisville, but source of income protections allow people that have section eight, to not be denied on the basis of their section eight."
Classes protected from the refusal to sell or rent a home include race, skin color, religion, sex, gender, familial status, national origin, disability, and sexual orientation. Some of the most common forms of discrimination they see are income, code enforcement, and criminal history. Both women say they know about housing discrimination all too well.
LFHC intern Ty'Shalia Woods experienced housing discrimination herself -- while she was a student and single mom, who needed housing assistance.
"I really feel like landlords and property managers take advantage of, you know, people like me, people who need the resources, who need the assistance,” says Woods. She says while she was able to advocate for herself, many others may not be aware they can.
She hears people say, “'I just want to move out tomorrow, I’m scared, I don't feel comfortable like they're just gonna put my stuff on the street' and things like that. People really don't know about the resources that are out there for them,” says Woods.
These leaders want people to consider the diversity of housing needs and know that everyone has a voice.
"I'm hoping that from these talks that we have that people are able to relate with people that they haven't been able to relate with before,” says Graves.
The Lexington Fair Housing Council serves the entire state. They say the best thing people can do to push for change is regularly attend local government meetings and vote.