Illinois Valley Realtors hosts ‘equal access to housing’ event

Fair Housing Act turns 53

This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.

In addition to these seven protected classes, the state of Illinois also prohibits discrimination based on ancestry, age, marital status, military status, sexual orientation, unfavorable discharge from military service and “order of protection status,” which was added to the Illinois list of protected classes in 2010.

“Realtors build communities and believe everyone has the right to live wherever they can afford to live,” said Christine Schweickert, 2021 president of the Illini Valley Association of Realtors. “It is important to take time to recognize Fair Housing and promoting awareness about fair housing laws, diversity and inclusion in our communities. Realtors are committed to upholding these laws and to further nationwide progress toward ending discrimination in the United States.”

In celebration of fair housing, the Illini Valley Association of Realtors Equal Opportunity in Housing Committee sponsored a luncheon program, “Promoting Equal Access to Housing,” presented by Ken Walden, managing attorney for the Civil Rights Team of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago. Walden directs the organization’s legal work, which consists of advice, counseling, and representation to persons with disabilities who have Civil Rights complaints. He also manages a disability-specific fair housing testing program, education and outreach about disability rights laws and public policy advocacy.

This event was open to Realtors, affiliates, area legislators and service organizations as well as the public. Among those in attendance were state Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, Prairie States Legal Service, Starved Rock Country Community Foundation, Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living, North Central Illinois Artworks and the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce, as well as area Realtors.