HUD Launches ‘Live Free’ Campaign to Combat Housing Discrimination Against Immigrants
(CNSNews.com) - April is National Fair Housing Month, and to mark the occasion, the Obama administration is addressing discrimination in housing based on national origin. The emphasis is on immigrants, legal or illegal.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Monday that it plans to educate the public -- through community talks and a media campaign -- about discrimination against "persons of foreign descent."
“Through this education campaign, HUD will work with communities to prevent housing discrimination and promote immigrant integration into the broader society," said John Trasvina, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
HUD's "Live Free" national media campaign includes a print advertisement featuring a Latino worker looking into the horizon, with a caption in Spanish reading: "You have the right to live where you choose. Report housing discrimination."
HUD points to Census data showing that "newcomers" are settling not only in "gateway states," but also in communities across the Midwest and South.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental, sales or home lending transactions based on a person's national origin. This includes discrimination based on a person's ancestry, country of birth outside the United States, and the language they speak.
HUD notes that national origin discrimination often involves immigrants or non-English speaking individuals, but it can also involve native-born U.S. citizens based on their family ancestry. The Fair Housing Act specifically bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, disability, and family status discrimination.
HUD recently awarded nearly $41 million to 108 fair housing organizations and non-profit agencies across the country to educate the public and combat housing and lending discrimination.
Many of the groups will use the grants to address discrimination against immigrants, Latinos, non-native English speakers and minority communities.
Some examples of how the grants will be used include the following:
-- The Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, California, will test for discrimination based on national origin in the sale and rental of housing units;
-- The Equal Rights Center in Washington, D.C., will investigate 240 new complaints of housing discrimination based on national origin;
-- The Idaho Legal Aid Services will broadcast public service announcements in Spanish about FHA lending information; and
-- Prairie State Legal Services in Rockford, Illinois, will focus on educational outreach to Spanish-speaking residents.