Community development is an ongoing process for Sioux Falls, one that now includes a new resource for people searching for a home. Two years ago, city officials conducted a study called an analysis of impediments to fair housing. Housing specialist Brent Tucker used that information to create the Fair Housing Awareness program.
"At that time, it was determined that fair housing education was something that was lacking here in the City of Sioux Falls," Tucker said.
Issues involving race, religion, national origin, disability and gender are all handled through this program, and it officially started one month ago.
City consultant Paul Flogstad's phone number and email address is available to the public if they feel there is a case of discrimination, and nearly 70 calls have already been taken.
"Many of the other calls, however, were related to that. Not many of them were major issues, but some of them where Paul provided the mediation to come to an agreement between the tenant and the property owner," Tucker said.
The Fair Housing Awareness website also has links to the federal Housing and Urban Development website for more resources just in case.
This is a pilot program, contracted for two years, but it could go longer if the City sees discriminatory housing practices go down.
"Any time you're dealing with human personalities, you can have trouble between the property owners and the tenants. The best thing, we figure, would be to curtail that by providing better education for both parties that are invovled," Tucker said.
If you feel that you may have a case that involves housing discrimination, visit the Fair Housing Awareness website.