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Imagine these scenarios: A veteran who can’t access his apartment because he’s in a wheelchair. A couple with a foreign nationality who is denied housing because of how they look. A Black child whose family is told they have to look in another neighborhood where they might be “more comfortable.”
Think these situations are a thing of the past? Unfortunately they’re not. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and its partners investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints similar to these each year. And they know many incidents go unreported due to lack of knowledge about what discrimination is, how to spot it, or how to report it.
That is why HUD and the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) launched a new series of radio and print public service advertisements (PSAs). The spots are designed to educate millions of people and their families about their rights, including how to recognize and report discrimination in housing based on their race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability. This includes discrimination in mortgage lending because of issues related to pregnancy and/or parental leave. All are illegal under the Fair Housing Act.
One ad shows a doormat with the phrase “Not Welcome,” a spot designed to capture the attention of consumers so they can notice and report possible acts of housing discrimination. At stake is the future of many, said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance.
“Where we live determines so much in life, including access to good education, health care and job opportunities,” Smith said. “It is vital that people around the country be aware of their rights under the Fair Housing Act.”