Human Relations


The Durham City Council created the Durham Human Relations Commission on October 7, 1968 during a time of much racial strife in the city between its white and black residents. The primary responsibilities of the 17-member board involved working to eradicate discrimination and to develop an atmosphere in the city conducive to good human relations. The commission worked with the department to achieve these objectives. Over the years the commission’s membership has changed to reflect a more diverse body that represents the entire city. Throughout its existence, the commission and the department have provided human relations forums, workshops, conferences and other activities with 1 goal in mind: To improve human relations among the people of Durham.

Vision Statement

It is our vision to end discrimination in any form and our goal to instill mutual respect and civility among all people and to make Durham into a model community for our state, nation and world.

Mission Statement

To improve race and human relations in the City of Durham by:

  • Enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Ordinance of the City of Durham
  • Prioritizing community outreach and educational activities to meet the needs of our citizens

Fair Housing

The Human Relations Division enforces the federal Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Ordinance of the City of Durham. These laws prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (gender), handicap (disability), and familial status.  Thus, it is illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of property, coerce or interfere in housing, or administer less favorable housing terms based on a tenant’s membership in one or more of the above “protected” classes.  It is also illegal to sexually harass a tenant or commit other acts of harassment that creates a hostile environment.  If you or someone you know is a victim of housing discrimination, complete the online complaint form or contact our office by calling 919-560-4107 or via email at [email protected].  Click here for information about fair housing.

Education & Outreach

Human Relations is responsible for providing fair housing education, outreach, and training on the City of Durham Fair Housing Ordinance, federal fair housing laws and related civil rights issues.

Community Relations

The Community Relations Program works with community groups, businesses, governmental agencies, schools and other groups to enhance their understanding of racial and cultural relations in order to create a greater level of harmony within the Durham community.

City Employees Named LGBT Liaisons To The City Executive

Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield has named Durham resident Risa Foster, Stacey Poston of General Services and Police Captain Brian Reitz as LGBT liaisons to the City Executive. Bonfield said the trio’s duties as liaisons will include serving as a resource to the  city manager and for the public to convey concerns of the LGBT community. Naming the liaisons will help the City get credit in the Municipal Equality Index, which examines laws, policies and services of municipalities. Contact information for liaisons are listed below:

Charles Strickland Jr. (Officer)
Phone: 919-560-4438, ext. 29477

Learn more about Fair Housing

Human Relations Division hosts 2017 HUD Region IV Fair Housing Training