For Immediate Release Wednesday, September 2, 1998
Contact: Pamela Thompson
Philadelphia, PA -- The Delaware Valley Fair Housing Partnership officially reded-crimes in the Delaware Valley region by unveiling a 10-point plan. This public announcement took place during a press conference on Wednesday, August 26, 1998 in Philadelphia. During the conference, Philadelphias Mayor Ed Rendell pledged his commitment to support the on-going efforts of the Partnership and encouraged other public agencies to become more involved in this fight. Further, he suggested that city government continue to work in tangent with private groups to ensure an open housing market for all our citizens.
The Delaware Valley Fair Housing Partnership is composed of five organizations: The Fair Housing Action Center, The Fair Housing Council of Montgomery County, The Fair Housing Council of Southern New Jersey, the Housing Consortium for Disabled Individuals, and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.
"The law guarantees that housing must be made available to all people who choose to live there and can afford to do so," stated Karen Black, Director of the Fair Housing Project of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. "We will enforce this law against anyone who uses violence to try to stop a person or family from exercising their right to fair housing." The Fair Housing Act was passed thirty years ago to give everybody this right. Yet, according to a 1996 FBI report, more than 8,000 hate crimes were committed in the United States. Of these crimes, more than 25% involved interference with fair housing rights. These hate activities further limit peoples options and the growth of diverse neighborhoods.
Too many people will not consider moving into certain neighborhoods, or have been run off from their homes for fear of harassment or physical harm. The Partnership aims to offer an organized approach to fighting hate crimes in housing by increasing support to victims and potential victims, while pursuing civil penalties against offenders.
What are we asking of the public? We are asking hate crime victims and witnesses to call our hotline, 1-888-KEPTOUT. We are searching for "pioneers" in the market for a new home and who hesitate to consider buying in certain areas for fear of experiencing a hate crime. And lastly, we are asking community groups, civic leaders, and concerned citizens to contact us to offer their suggestions and support.