Home may be where the heart is, but having a roof over one’s head is one of the most basic of human needs. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes “housing” on its list of essentials that everyone should have access to, alongside food, medicine and social services. Federal law in the United States largely agrees. Title VIII of the Civil Rights act of 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act, states that “it shall be unlawful to refuse to sell or rent … or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.” Great! That means that no landlord or Realtor can ever discriminate against a person seeking a place to live based on who they are and what they look like … right? But what about LGBT people? Could a landlord or Realtor discriminate against a potential tenant or buyer based on his or her sexual orientation? What about based on gender identity? The answer in more than half of America — including in most of Pennsylvania — is, unfortunately, yes. This is a real problem.
Rainbow ribbons were ceremoniously cut this week at the John C. AndersonApartment building at 249 S. 13th Street in the heart of Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. The residences are the third of its kind in America — after Los Angeles and Minneapolis — offering affordable housing to Philadelphia’s LGBT seniors, and the first to be developed in the country financed in part with the sale of low-income housing tax credits.