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HUD Fact Sheet: Protecting Persons from Housing Discrimination Based on Actual or Perceived Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics

According to the HUD FACT SHEET: Protecting Persons from Housing Discrimination Based on Actual or Perceived Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics (September 28, 2023), the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from HUD.

This HUD Fact Sheet describes ways in which this protection covers persons who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, or of another religious group.

Title VI’s protection from race, color, or national origin discrimination extends to persons who experience discrimination, including harassment, based on their actual or perceived:
  • shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics; or
  • citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity.

Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin against persons of any religion (such as, persons who are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, or Buddhist) when the discrimination involves—but is not limited to—the following:
  • racial, ethnic, or ancestral slurs or stereotypes;
  • physical appearance, including skin color, physical features, or style of dress reflecting both ethnic and religious traditions; and
  • a foreign accent; a foreign name, including names commonly associated with particular shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics; or speaking a foreign language.

Examples of the kinds of incidents that could, depending upon facts and circumstances, raise Title VI concerns include:
  • telling tenant applicants or prospective homebuyers that they will not like a neighborhood because there is no religious community nearby for people with similar names, appearances, accents, races, or ethnicities
  • harassing tenants by using racial, ethnic, or ancestral slurs or stereotypes
  • refusing to rent to persons because their name, dress, or other characteristics are associated with a certain ethnicity or ancestry.

If you believe that a housing provider (regardless of whether that housing provider receives Federal financial assistance from HUD or not) has discriminated against you based on your ancestry, ethnic characteristics, or religion, then contact our office at (210) 733-3247, ext. 101 to learn more about your rights, file a complaint, or obtain other assistance to address your complaint against that housing provider.

If you do not speak or understand English proficiently, then our office staff can hire an interpreter who speaks your language to be present and provide interpreter services during your telephone call or in-person meeting at our office.

In addition, please be advised that you do not need to be a United States citizen in order to receive services from our office or file a complaint against the housing provider.
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