CAMPAIGN THAT DEPICTS SHARED OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today kicked off Fair Housing Month 2016 with the launch of a new national media campaign that helps the public to envision what communities with shared opportunity for all might look like. The new campaign is designed to further educate the public about their housing rights and the ideals behind HUD’s new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) initiative.
The campaign, which was developed in partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), will include print Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in various languages, television PSAs in English and Spanish, online videos, and social media outreach. The campaign will run throughout 2016, and comes as the nation celebrates the 48th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark law that was passed one week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968.
Every April, HUD, local communities, fair housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country commemorate Fair Housing Month by hosting a variety of activities that enhance Americans’ awareness of their fair housing rights, highlight HUD’s fair housing enforcement efforts, and emphasize the importance of ending housing discrimination.
“A core belief of our values as Americans is the idea that every person deserves a fair chance to secure safe and stable housing,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “Your race, how you get around, the size of your family, whether you come from another country, if you are a man or a woman, or whatever your religious beliefs are should never hinder your housing goals. I am proud of the work our fair housing staff does every day in conjunction with our state and local partners to ensure that everyone’s fair housing rights are honored.”
Through an array of enforcement activities, fair housing policy initiatives, and education and outreach efforts, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity continues to take action against individuals and housing providers that discriminate. Last year, HUD and its Fair Housing Assistance Program partner agencies received 8,293 complaints alleging discrimination based on one or more of the Fair Housing Act’s seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. During that period, the categories with the highest number of complaints were disability and race, respectively. HUD also focused on lending discrimination, as well as various forms of discrimination faced by women, families with children, and LGBT persons.
“Nearly 50 years after it was passed, the Fair Housing Act remains a powerful tool to ensure housing providers give every person an equal chance to find the home that is right for them, without prejudice or discrimination,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “As we move to implement the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule in partnership with local jurisdictions, we are pleased to be entering the next level of fair housing where every family, regardless of zip code, has access to the resources and opportunity they need to get ahead.”
“This campaign is an important component of our efforts to both eliminate unfair barriers to housing opportunity and to establish vibrant, diverse, and inclusive neighborhoods in all communities,” said Shanna L. Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, HUD’s partner in the creation of the campaign.
In particular, the new media campaign reinforces the ideals behind the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which provides communities that receive HUD funding with the tools and support needed to meet their fair housing planning obligations. The final AFFH rule also provides HUD program participants with guidelines and the data they need to meet their fair housing planning obligations. Since the Fair Housing Act first became law, HUD funding recipients have been obligated to reduce barriers to housing choice and to promote equal access to opportunity, including economic opportunity.
The campaign begins with “A Zip Code Should Not Determine a Child’s Future,” a PSA ad that features children of different ethnicities looking toward a bright future because they have the chance to live in neighborhoods filled with opportunity. And because community involvement in the planning process is a critical element of AFFH, the HUD media campaign includes customizable posters that local cities and other jurisdictions can use to announce neighborhood meetings that residents can attend.