New Fair Housing Web Site Launched to Address Housing Discrimination
Feature Story by Ritu Kelotra - 8/12/2003A new web site, fairhousinglaw.org, designed to inform renters and homebuyers about fair housing laws was launched this week by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF).
The site is being launched in conjunction with a nationwide print, radio, television and online public service announcement campaign (PSA) that aims to educate Americans about housing discrimination.
"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."
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds the project, more than two million instances of housing discrimination occur annually, but 2001 figures show that less than one percent of them were reported. www.fairhousinglaw.org provides facts and answers to questions about fair housing laws, and informs the public about how to report violations.
Other useful information and resources available at www.fairhousinglaw.org include:
- Practices that are prohibited in the buying or renting of homes and mortgage lending;
- How to know when you are being discriminated against;
- Information on who to contact if you are the victim of housing discrimination; and
- Information on how to get involved in your community to rally against housing discrimination practices to others.
"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."
The web site and PSA campaign are the culmination of LCCREF's partnerships with the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Ad Council and New York advertising firm Merkley Newman Harty.