New York State Division of Human Rights Announces Statewide Fair Housing Public Information Campaign

Upcoming Webinar Will Discuss New Source of Income Protections Under State Law

September 16, 2020

The New York State Division of Human Rights announced today the launching of a public information campaign to educate New Yorkers about their rights to fair housing under the State’s Human Rights Law. The campaign, entitled “Unlocking Doors. Breaking Down Barriers.”, will include social media advertising, billboards, newspaper advertisements, informational materials and videos, and educational events. The campaign, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will begin on September 16, 2020.

“In light of everything that has transpired over the last few months, it is more important than ever to make sure that New Yorkers have access to fair housing,” said Division of Human Rights Interim Commissioner Johnathan J. Smith. “Through this campaign the Division will be providing an array of resources and information to make sure that people know their rights and how the New York State Human Rights Law protects them from discrimination and harassment.”

As part of the campaign launch, the Division is hosting a panel discussion to discuss new guidance on legislation signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last year to prohibit source of income discrimination in housing. For more information about the event and the campaign, Opens in a new windowvisit the website.

Over the last few months, the Division has secured over $600,000 in damages as well as other nonmonetary benefits for over 100 victims of housing discrimination across New York State. Most recently, the Division achieved a settlement of $175,000 for a Brooklyn couple who were denied the right to purchase an apartment in a Williamsburg condominium due to their Jewish faith. The Division also secured a settlement of $40,000 for a Queens woman who was denied the opportunity to participate in an affordable housing lottery because she was visibly pregnant during her application interview. A settlement of $15,500 was achieved for a Schenectady woman who alleged that she and her son were subjected to racial slurs and discrimination by their landlord because they are Black.

Today's announcement builds upon Governor Cuomo's ongoing efforts to pursue fair housing for all New Yorkers. Last month, New York State Homes and Community Renewal Opens in a new windowlaunched the Fair Housing Matters NY initiative, a statewide effort to analyze and address segregated living patterns and housing disparities in New York State. Earlier this year, the Department of State, in conjunction with the Division, issued regulations mandating enhanced disclosures by real estate professionals to help ensure prospective home buyers, renters, sellers and landlords receive ample information about their rights and protections under New York State law.

New York has the proud distinction of being the first state in the nation to enact a Human Rights Law and celebrates the law’s 75th anniversary this year. The New York State Division of Human Rights is the agency in charge of enforcing this law, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and other jurisdictions, based on age, race, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, disability, military status, and other protected classes. For more information about the Human Rights Law and the work of the agency, please visit the Division’s website at dhr.ny.gov.