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Friday, May 5, 2023

Charlottesville is about to join a very exclusive group: our city’s Office of Human Rights plans to hire a full-time housing discrimination investigator. 

Charlottesville is already one of just six Virginia localities to have an Office of Human Rights with the authority to investigate discrimination claims. But it’s struggling. The city department receives more discrimination allegations than its two-person staff can handle. The vast majority of those claims are for housing discrimination, which pushed the department to seek an investigator devoted to that issue.

A light blue building, older, with a newer looking brick building behind it.
Credit: Credit: Mike Kropf/Charlottesville Tomorrow

Charlottesville plans to hire one of the only city sponsored housing discrimination investigators in the state

Officials believe that there are many more instances of housing discrimination happening than are reported, which is something a new staff member can investigate. We’ll be following what happens as the city fills the position and the investigator begins their work.

One of the issues this new investigator might explore is whether landlords and sellers are providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. One such Charlottesville resident, India Sims, recently shared her experience as a disabled person trying to find accessible housing in Charlottesville in a First Person essay, produced with our partners in Charlottesville Inclusive Media. In the end, Sims had so much trouble finding a home she could access with a wheelchair here that she simply stopped looking in the city.

Woman in wheelchair looking straight  at camera, on city street with brick buildings and sidewalks with poles behind her.
Credit: Kori Price/Charlottesville Tomorrow

India Sims can do everything you can do — just sitting down

Before I continue, a short programming update: The next few emails will feature messages from our team about our spring campaign to help support local, independent journalism. Our first message is from a quiet, but stalwart member of our little team: our newshound, Duff! Like many of you, Duff is very supportive of his local journalists. He takes his role as newsroom dog seriously, always prepared to comfort a stressed out reporter! We hope you’ll join Duff in supporting us!

In other news, next week two local groups, Town Crier Productions and Free Enterprise Forum, are hosting a forum for Charlottesville’s five Democratic City Council Candidates. Here’s more information about how to attend the forum.

Primary Democratic candidates for Charlottesville City Council will appear in a May 10 forum

Some important information about the June 20 Primary Election: On this day, Charlottesville voters will select three of the five Democratic Council candidates. There are three open positions on the Council this year. The top three Democratic candidates will go on to the November General Election, where they might face off against Republican or other party candidates. But, as of this week, there are no other party or Independent candidates who have expressed intentions to run. And, they must do so before the Primary Election in order to be on the November ballot.

That means, it’s possible that this Primary Election will decide Charlottesville’s City Council members.

You don’t have to be a Democrat to vote in the Democratic Primary. If you don’t yet have plans to vote, here’s information on how to register and cast your ballot.

Thanks for reading!

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.