Charleston’s special commission looks at possible changes to fair housing ordinance

VIDEO: Charleston’s special commission looks at possible changes to fair housing ordinance

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston’s new Commission on Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation could be the key to changing some of the city’s housing laws.

Their Housing and Mobility subcommittee has recently met to discuss changes they would like to see, including ways to amend the city’s fair housing ordinance.

The city’s fair housing ordinance protects people from discrimination when renting, buying home, and seeking housing assistance. It is based on the U.S. Fair Housing Act of 1969.

“Right now, we’re looking to see if the city has the capacity to amend its ordinance so that it is substantially equivalent to the national fair housing act,” said Amber Johnson, the Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation Manager for city of Charleston."We just have to look at what it would take to enforce the ordinance, if we have the staff, and the financial capability to make that happen."

The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission handles housing discrimination concerns, but the office is in Columbia. This ordinance would create a similar office in Charleston to help renters and people who have landlord concerns.

Jason Sakran is the co-chair of the commission and a city councilmember. He believes this type of change would be a great start in the city of Charleston.

“If you’re having issues with your landlord, if you’re having issues around housing, you’ll have a place to come here locally that you can speak to and have some sort of either legal recourse. You’ll have someone who is an expert on that,” Sakran said.

This is just one of many topics and recommendations the housing subcommittee is working on.

There are also six other subcommittees in place to address different disparities.

The goal with the commission is to gather information and come up with recommendations or policy changes that city council could act on, in 90 days.

For more information on the commission or subcommittees, click here.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.