April is Fair Housing Month. It is the 40th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act's signing by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968. Disability was not specifically included at that time, and people who lived with disabilities were far from the minds of the public and Congress. Fair Housing was available based on race, religion, sex, and national origin, and that was a good start. Reading that the Fair Housing Act was signed forty years ago made me think about my own living arrangements - before and after disability came into my life.
In 1974, when I was looking for housing for my two young boys and me, I selected a nice, affordable two-bedroom apartment in a nice part of town. It was not too far from the bank where I had just been hired. I told the woman that I would take it, and she responded that she could not rent it to me. A couple of questions came to mind. First, why did she show it to me? Second, why couldn't I rent it?