Human Relations

Housing Discrimination Complaints

The Winston-Salem Human Relations Department and Commission provide the voice and the opportunity for people to be afforded equal rights in their real estate transactions, including the buying and renting of their homes by enforcing the Fair Housing Act. The Department not only provides conciliation possibilities for citizens to work out their alleged housing discrimination complaints, but it also conducts investigations into discrimination allegations.

Upon the completion of the investigations, a final determination is made by the director to decide whether there is reasonable cause to believe discrimination has taken place. If reasonable cause is determined, the parties are advised and the City Attorney's Office will take over the case. If reasonable cause is not determined, the parties are advised that there appears that no discrimination occurred. Despite the determination, the parties always have the right to pursue the matter with their own personal attorneys through a court of law.

Landlord & Tenant Mediation

The Human Relations Department and Commission also provide mediation for landlords and tenants regarding disputes and concerns about their rights as mandated by North Carolina General Statute Chapter 42. While the department staff has the authority to investigate and mediate landlord/tenant complaints, per city ordinance, the department relies on the parties involved to enforce the landlord/tenant mediation agreement. If necessary, the parties may also opt to have the agreement enforced in court.

Promoting Positive Community & Cultural Relations

The final major function of the department and commission is to encourage and promote positive community and cultural relations throughout the city. The Human Relations Department works with three boards and commissions: the College Advisory Board, the Human Relations Commission, and the Youth Advisory Council. The department staff promotes interpersonal relations and interactions among its citizens by providing various town hall meetings, roundtable discussions, and other community events that promote and celebrate the theme of cultural diversity.

The department staff and the Human Relations Commission holds events such as:

  • Annual March for Homeless Children
  • Black History Month Showcase of Song
  • Cultural Inclusion Month
  • Fair and Affordable Housing Summit
  • I Have a Question About… Interfaith Panel Discussions
  • International Village
  • Trust Talks

Past events and programs held include Beyond Soul and Salsa African-American/Hispanic Relations Forums, the Jena 6 Community Forum, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Noon Hour Observance. The HRC and HRD partners with community organizations to hold programs such as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast, Juneteenth, India Fest, and Fiesta.