Chad Dion Lassiter, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, recently talked with me about fair housing and how this affects communities. Lassiter has been with the PHRC since 2018 and previously served as the executive director of the Red Cross House with the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania and a Professor of Race Relations at West Chester University.
Lassiter noted in our conversation that the national Fair Housing Act emerged from the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He said the act recognizes that housing is not just a fundamental right, but a human right and that housing discrimination is pervasive. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing against people based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status.
Lassiter commented that most Realtors® are following the Fair Housing Act. When they meet with a prospective homebuyer, whether at a home or an apartment, the Realtors® are inviting, extremely professional and they see the humanity of the individuals in front of them. And then there are Realtors® who historically and contemporary have discriminated against people because of racism and other variables like maybe the clients are a same-sex couple, an interracial couple, maybe a couple with children or maybe someone who has a guide dog.