This month, as we commemorate the 51st anniversary of the passing of the Fair Housing Act, we are reminded that but for this landmark legislation, which protects people from housing discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability status, and veteran status, our communities would be very different places.
PSHH itself is a direct descendant of the FHA, its provisions allowing a group of concerned citizens in the early 1970's to organize, seek the necessary funding, and help pioneering families leverage their collective "sweat equity" into home ownership. From those efforts, the first of over fifty PSHH neighborhoods was born - Baywood Park in Los Osos.
The FHA remains as important today, if not more so, than when it was first passed in 1968. Equal access to housing is a basic human right. Those who seek to deny access to this for others impoverish not only our communities but impoverish themselves. It is only within a rich vibrant mix of viewpoint, life experience, culture and age can we thrive as a society and evolve into our best possible selves.
The vital part you have played through your support of PSHH over the years cannot be overstated
. Every letter you have written to elected
officials, every event you have attended
, every volunteer hour, every check you've written, has advanced the ability
of the working poor to live with dignity and resiliency in safe and permanent housing.
You can be proud of your
, but I urge you not to be complacent.
Almost every month at the national level I see insidious attempts to chip away at the FHA and at the local level I see threats to housing rights from gentrification and calcified communities.
In nature, if a plant or
monoculture dominates, an ecosystem can
collapse in on itself. The same is true for our societies. To remain healthy, our communities need to have open hearts, open arms and open minds.
Let this anniversary of the FHA serve us all as a reminder of that.