Silver State Fair Housing Council is privileged to have a high caliber advisory committee that helps to ensure the service works well for Nevadans. As a part of our new blog, we will be asking the members of our advisory committee to tell us about themselves and their role in Nevada housing. One member is Kate Zook, Executive Director of Silver State Fair Housing Council, who helped give fair housing information on a more prominent place. Below she tells about what the Council does and how you can contact them for help.

1.     Give us a run-down of a typical day for you at the fair housing council.

Every day is a new adventure here! Our offices in Reno and Las Vegas receive calls from throughout the state from housing consumers, housing providers, social service providers, and local jurisdictions. Our mission is to ensure equal housing opportunity for all residents of Nevada. We do that by answering questions about housing discrimination laws, who is protected, and how the laws are applied. Federal and state fair housing laws make it illegal to discriminate in housing and housing-related services based on someone’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, family status (presence of children under the age of 18), disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression. Obviously, we are ALL covered by these protections and they apply to all types of housing and housing transactions.

In a “typical” day our staff will be answering calls, making referrals, and meeting with community members who believe that their fair housing rights have been violated. We also run a volunteer “testing” program to monitor the housing market and how people are treated in housing transactions. At least once a month, we offer accredited fair housing trainings for real estate and community association management licensees, as well as for property managers, homeowner associations, and others. Social service and government agencies take advantage of in-service trainings that we offer to help their staffs recognize and refer housing discrimination issues to our office.

2.     What kinds of help do you offer for landlords and property owners?

While we do not have attorneys on staff to provide legal advice, we are happy to act as a resource for landlords and property owners who have questions about fair housing. We believe that the best way to ensure equal housing opportunity is to make sure that housing providers have the latest information about how fair housing laws are interpreted. We do our best to provide the information and resources needed to make good decisions.

3.     Does Nevada have any bright spots with regard to fair housing?

Nevada offers protections for sexual orientation and gender identity/expression that are not articulated in the federal Fair Housing Act. We are seeing increasing complaints about these issues and are happy to have the resources under state law to address those forms of discrimination.

In addition, we are fortunate that Silver State Fair Housing Council receives funding from HUD, Clark County, the cities of Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, Henderson, and Carson City, as well as from Washoe County, that allows us to offer a comprehensive program of fair housing education, outreach, and enforcement throughout the state. SSFHC has developed a close relationship with HUD and the local jurisdictions to affirmatively further fair housing.

4.     Is there anything Nevada especially needs to work on?

While it is not specifically a fair housing issue, there is a lack of affordable housing throughout the state that impacts those most vulnerable members of our communities. As our economy continues to grow, we are seeing an increasing demand for affordable housing available in neighborhoods that also provide transportation, education, and economic opportunities.

5.       What’s the best place to start if you need help with a fair housing issue?

Contact Silver State Fair Housing Council! We are available by phone, email, and through our website. And you can always follow us on Facebook.

Reno: 775.324.0990               Las Vegas: 702.749.3288      

Toll-free: 1.888.585.8634       Relay Nevada 711            Silver State Fair Housing Council