(Washington, DC–August 11) – To combat widespread housing discrimination the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF) this week is launching a new web-based resource in conjunction with a year-long public service announcement (PSA) campaign. The goal is to inform renters and homebuyers about illegal obstacles to housing opportunities, ranging from linguistic profiling during telephone contacts to discrimination against families with children.
www.FairHousingLaw.org provides facts about fair housing law, announcements, and information on where to obtain help. It also includes inspirational stories of people who have fought back against discrimination and won. The site contains print, radio, and television spots from the new PSA campaign developed in partnership with the Ad Council and New York advertising firm Merkley Newman Harty. The captivating spots carry the tagline, “Fair housing. It’s not an option. It’s the law.”
“Housing discrimination is a pervasive problem nationwide. It is also severely under-reported,” said Karen McGill Lawson, LCCREF executive director. “It is sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle, but always an insidious act that bars home seekers from opportunities to live where they choose because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability. We want victims of discrimination to know that there is redress.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has funded the project, estimates that more than two million instances of housing discrimination occur each year, but less than one percent are reported. In order to effectively combat housing discrimination, renters and homebuyers must know their rights and how to spot illegal behavior by landlords or realtors.
“It is difficult to fight housing discrimination without being armed with information,” explains Shanna Smith, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, a campaign partner. “The website and the PSA campaign are vitally important because they empower people who are unaware that they have been victims of housing discrimination with facts on what to look for and then how to respond.”