Los Angeles Times and Housing Rights Center Launch Fair Housing Awareness Advertising Campaign

Housing Rights Center
Contact: Amy Dong
213-387-8400 ext. 28

Los Angeles Times
Contact: Martha H. Goldstein

For Immediate Release December 6, 2002

(LOS ANGELES 11/22/02)—The Housing Rights Center (HRC) and the Los Angeles Times announced today that they will join together in a fair housing education advertising campaign that will include a series of public interest advertisements. The goal of the campaign is to make tenants of rental housing and their landlords as well as homebuyers, realtors, borrowers, and lenders aware of federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, or physical or mental disability.

In a series of display advertisements prepared by the Times, readers will be informed of the broad sweep of the fair housing laws, and reminded that it is unlawful to place advertisements that discourage particular classes of tenants, such as tenants with children. The public interest advertisements will be published in the Times and on latimes.com throughout November 2002, and in April 2003 and April 2004 in recognition of Fair Housing Month. The Times also will publish daily notices throughout the year in the Classifieds summarizing the fair housing laws and providing telephone numbers for local fair housing organizations, including HRC.

Federal and state fair housing laws are intended to prohibit discrimination in the rental and sales of housing, and in lending and insurance. Recent studies have found that many people are not aware of the fair housing laws. An April 2002 study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found that 70 percent of the people surveyed were aware that it is illegal to discriminate in the sale of homes on the basis of race, but only 38 percent of the people surveyed were aware that it is illegal to treat families with children differently from households without children.

That same HUD-funded study, which was conducted by the Urban Institute and the University of Michigan, suggests that housing discrimination decreases when awareness about fair housing laws increases. “The study certainly shows the need for fair housing education,” says Marlene Garza, HRC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Awareness of fair housing rights is the first step toward preventing discrimination in housing.”

The Los Angeles Times has taken a leadership role in fair housing awareness for many years, and is a founding member of the Fair Housing Advertising Task Force of Southern California. The Housing Rights Center provides fair housing education, investigation and advocacy services for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Any resident or organization can call HRC to get information or to sign up for a workshop on the fair housing laws.