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Mayor's Office

2007 Media Releases


Date:
February 16, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Larry Williams, Human Rights, 441-8691


REPORT SHOWS JUMP IN DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS

The number of housing discrimination complaints received by the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) in 2006 more than doubled the number received in 2005, increasing from 13 to 32. That’s according to the LCHR annual report, which also shows the number of employment discrimination complaints increasing 53 percent from 47 to 72.

LCHR Director Larry Williams attributes the increases to the educational and training outreach programs completed by staff. “It’s hard to determine whether discrimination is occurring more often in our community, but I do believe more people are aware of fair housing laws and the role of LCHR,” said Williams.

LCHR conducted 88 educational outreach and training sessions in 2006, reaching more than 3,600 people. The agency also meets with Lincoln High Schools career education classes twice a year to discuss the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers. “We will continue to focus on educational outreach because in order for discrimination to end, all must be aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law.”

LCHR received 112 total discrimination complaints in 2006, compared to 65 in 2005. In addition to housing and employment complaints, eight public accommodation complaints were filed, compared to five in the previous year. The agency was able to obtain more than $20,000 in monetary settlements for clients in 2006.

In 2006, LCHR received federal grants totaling $142,607, about 45 percent of LCHR’s total budget. LCHR received $171,285 in City general fund dollars in fiscal year 2005-2006, about .16 percent of the City’s total general fund budget. “With minimal resources, LCHR serves as the primary law enforcement agency for both federal and local anti-discrimination laws,” said Williams. “A local commission with local people reviewing local concerns is the best way to combat discrimination and protect all citizens.”

LCHR conducts a Fair Housing Conference and an Employment Symposium each year. This year’s Fair Housing Conference is set for April 31 and May 1, and the Employment Symposium is set for October 12. More information on LCHR, including the 2006 annual report and registration for the Fair Housing Conference, can be found on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: rights). To schedule an educational program, call the agency at 441-7624.


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