Mayor Andy McKenzie of Wheeling has proclaimed April Fair Housing Month in the "Friendly City."
Nancy Prager, Director of Economic and Community Development, would like everyone to know how seriously the city takes fair housing. She said there are a lot of misconceptions out there, dealing with landlord-tenant laws, and hopes this month can help bring awareness to the larger issues surrounding fair housing and discrimination. That's where the Human Rights Commission comes in, and plays a large role in protecting people.
"Every day, we get calls in here. Last fiscal year, we had close to 400 contacts with regard to housing," said Executive Director for the Wheeling HRC, Terri Garrett. "Those contacts were either referred to other agencies, or they were handled by the human rights commission."
It's no secret that the future of the Human Rights Commission is unclear after dramatic cuts in funding from the city's CDBG funds. Right now, any claims received by Prager's officer that deal with discrimination are turned over to Garrett. If the Wheeling HRC does not continue to exist next fiscal year, there are a few things that could happen, Prager said. Those claims would go to the state HRC, or a person employed by the city could act as staff for the commission.
Right now, it's unclear what will happen. Both Prager and Garrett, hope the community will take some time this month to educate themselves on landlord tenant laws.