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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 10, 1998
                         ON THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY
                     OF THE FEDERAL FAIR HOUSING ACT

April 10, 1998

Warm greetings to everyone celebrating the 30th anniversary of the enactment of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 -- the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Within a week of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Congress passed and President Johnson signed into law this landmark legislation, which has helped countless Americans achieve the American Dream. The theme of this anniversary celebration, "Many Neighborhoods -- One America," reflects the reality that people of diverse cultures and backgrounds can live together in harmony and reaffirm the American ideals of equality, opportunity, and freedom.

By limiting housing choice, discrimination reduces the quality of life for many Americans. During the past three decades, we have made great strides in opening housing markets. But housing discrimination, although less apparent than in years past, still exists, and the need to enforce fair housing laws vigorously remains as urgent today as ever.

My Administration is committed to building strong partnerships between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and local communities. I have proposed the largest single increase in HUD's civil rights enforcement programs in two decades. My proposal includes a significant increase in funding for HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives and Fair Housing Assistance Programs that, among other things, will combat racially motivated hate crimes related to housing. We are also seeking congressional approval to raise the Federal Housing Administration loan limit so that more Americans, including minorities and women, can become homeowners.

Working together, we can create a more just society that underscores our shared strengths instead of focusing on our differences. The Fair Housing Act continues to be an indispensable tool in these efforts, and as we celebrate its 30th anniversary, I call on all Americans to join me in making division and discrimination issues of the past, and to make America a stronger, better place to live for all of our people.

Best wishes for a memorable anniversary celebration.


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