Fair Housing Commission Looks for NWA Discrimination Issues

Fayetteville -- The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission visited in Northwest Arkansas this week, as part of a statewide tour.

The commission aims to build inclusive communities throughout the state, and it's asking people about the barriers they face when trying to find a place to live. Executive Director Carol Johnson says although Northwest Arkansas is fairly progressive, this area is not immune to some of the same housing issues plaguing other parts of the state.

"We want to eliminate areas of blight and poverty," she says. "What we want to do is build sustainable, inclusive communities throughout the state."

Johnson says a lack of affordable housing in some parts of Northwest Arkansas is troubling, and everyone, regardless of race, religion or national origin, needs access to good schools, hospitals and other municipal services.

"We want to make sure that we don't have segregated areas," she says. "We see that more so in the Central Arkansas area... We need to address all of those issues, and then look to find ways to make sure that we have diversity statewide."

However, she says the passage of a civil rights ordinance in Fayetteville is promising, and she wants to see all of Arkansas follow suit.

"I'm pleased that, the city of Fayetteville is progressive in its thought process, and have included a number of additional protected classes," she says. "I'm excited that, you know, fair housing is on the forefront right now, and I think that the progression that the city of Fayetteville has made is going to be a blueprint for the rest of the state."

The "Four Corners" tour continues through October, and the commission plans to create an immediate plan of action to fix the issues it learns about on the road.

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