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Elected Officials And Advocates Discuss Furthering Fair Housing Initiatives

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- April is Fair Housing Month.

It commemorates the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, which protects people from housing discrimination based on race, color, nationality, religion, sex, family status or disability.

On Monday, leaders in Pittsburgh vowed to push harder than ever for housing equality in city neighborhoods. City leaders and advocates said during a celebratory press conference on Monday that this remains a critical issue.

In 2021, more than 8,500 housing discrimination complaints were submitted to the U.S. government, according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In Pittsburgh, thousands face housing insecurity and displacement, a unique intersection of equality and affordability.

Councilwoman Deb Gross, District 7, said that her constituents have told her, "Their elderly neighbors or low-income neighbors are no longer able to afford that apartment or that apartment disappeared from right in front of them. They got displaced from their local neighborhoods as those buildings were sold. And they're replaced by people with very high incomes."

Gross argued that city leaders should put investments under a microscope, stressing that places like Lawrenceville and the Strip District are becoming increasingly less affordable for anyone who isn't wealthy.

Meanwhile, advocates suggest leaders consider a human rights approach to housing in the city.

Leilani Farha, Former United Nations special rapporteur, said "protect every single affordable unit that you have now because it's the affordable units that these big institutional actors are going after."

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council is holding a public hearing about the expansion of inclusionary zoning. It's supposed to help provide better ways to keep diverse residents in their neighborhoods.

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