DENVER — The Denver Metro Fair Housing Center is trying to end housing discrimination. They launched a new campaign looking to educate everyone on discriminatory behavior some people face as they search for a place to live.
The campaign is a multifaceted effort with public service announcements, community forums and even a short documentary to give people a glimpse of the challenges people face when searching for decent housing.
"We’re hoping that by shining a light on it we’ll see an interruption in some of those kind of discriminatory behaviors," John Paul Marosy with the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center said.
The Fair Housing Center said they receive 800 calls a year, and a vast majority of them are discriminatory complaints.
According to the Fair Housing Center, more than 27,000 Coloradans use housing vouchers, a program that helps supplement rent. The organization reports 82% of those households include someone with a disability and 84% are BIPOC.
But even with a voucher, some still get turned away, which for the most part is against state law.
"These are some of the most vulnerable people in Colorado. We’re looking for cooperation and a joint partnership in assuring compliance with the law," Marosy said. "We're hopeful by educating and activating we'll see a change in behavior."
Sage Sigman knows he's been judged when searching for housing. He also knows why. He admits he's a felon.
"When I got my voucher I was rejected from a number of apartment complexes I applied to," he said. "I don’t have a number for you, but I’d estimate about 90% of the time."
Sigman said while there's no law to protect him getting equal housing, he still fights for the rights of all housing voucher recipients.
"I've made a point in a lot of my policy work trying to push policies that reduce discrimination against voucher clients and make voucher recipients more able to access safe and quality housing," he said.
The Denver Metro Fair Housing Center plans to meet with its partnering organizations at the end of November to see how effective this campaign turned out to be.
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