Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

TDHCA, ORCA Celebrate National Fair Housing Month

(AUSTIN - 04/01/03) TDHCA and Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) this month join other agencies and organizations throughout the state in celebrating the 1968 passage of landmark fair housing legislation by observing “National Fair Housing Month.” Governor Rick Perry has called on Texans to remain committed to advancing fair housing opportunities for all citizens and officially proclaimed April “Fair Housing Month” in Texas.

The Fair Housing Act, established by Congress in 1968, prohibits discrimination in the financing, rent, or sale of any dwelling based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law on April 11, 1968, paving the way for the month of April to be recognized as National Fair Housing Month.

Amendments to the Act in 1988 extended protection against housing discrimination based on disability or familial status. The following year, the Texas Legislature solidified its commitment to fair housing with the Texas Fair Housing Act of 1989, which offered protection for apartment renters and homeowners.

TDHCA and ORCA share in Texas’ state housing program administration responsibilities. TDHCA administers programs that support the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of housing affordable to low-income Texans. ORCA administers programs that provide for infrastructure such as water and sewer lines that support housing developments in rural areas.

“Fair Housing Month is a time for all Texans to commit themselves to the proposition that all citizens deserve equal access to safe, decent, and affordable housing,” stated Edwina Carrington, TDHCA Executive Director. “It is the state’s responsibility to ensure fair housing opportunities, and both TDHCA and ORCA take this responsibility quite seriously. On the occasion of Fair Housing Month, we rededicate ourselves to expanding housing opportunities for all citizens of this great state.”

“Every Texan is entitled to fair housing opportunities, whether they live in urban areas or rural communities,” noted ORCA Executive Director Robert J. “Sam” Tessen, MS. “We’re fortunate to have two state agencies working together and dedicated to supporting fair housing activities throughout Texas. Both agencies are committed to providing the best housing resources possible for all Texans.”

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is Texas’ lead agency responsible for affordable housing, public and energy assistance programs, and colonia activities. The Department annually administers funds in excess of $400 million, the majority of which is derived from mortgage revenue bond financing and refinancing, federal grants, and federal tax credits.

ORCA was created by the 77th Legislature to facilitate and focus the State’s health, economic development, and community development programs targeting rural communities in Texas. ORCA's programs and services support health care delivery in rural Texas, and address rural community planning activities, and housing and public facility needs such as sewer, water system, road, drainage improvements, and disaster relief funds. ORCA also administers programs designed to improve the leadership capacity of rural community leaders. ORCA is the door to Texas government for rural citizens.

For more information, contact TDHCA's Center for Housing Research, Planning, and Communications at (512) 475-3976.