Our guest blogger today is Robert Walker, Director of Education and Outreach, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
During the mid-1960s I served on the frontlines in the Vietnam War. I know that if it were not for the women who served in vital medical roles during that war, I probably would not be alive today. As a veteran, I am proud to celebrate Veterans Day 2011, and as an employee I am happy HUD chose “Honoring Our Women Veterans” as its Veterans Day theme.
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) enforces the Fair Housing Act, the law that states it’s illegal to deny housing or discriminate against someone based on their disability, gender, race, color, national origin, familial status or religion.
While the Fair Housing Act does not prohibit discrimination solely based on a veteran’s status, some veterans face discrimination because of a disability. For example, HUD charged a housing provider in Miami with discrimination for refusing to make one of its units accessible for a veteran who uses a wheelchair. HUD also charged two Poughkeepsie, New York-area landlords for refusing to allow a Vietnam-era veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to have a therapeutic service dog in his apartment.
Housing discrimination against a veteran with a disability or any protected class is wrong and against the law. Our veterans deserve our thanks, respect and the opportunity to live where they choose free from discrimination. To all veterans, women and men, I am privileged to be one of you and “Thank YOU” for your selfless service.