Philadelphia Newspapers, Tenants' Action Group join to fight housing discrimination

The campaign seeks to educate the public and the real estate community about fair-housing laws.

By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer STAFF WRITER

Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. and the Tenants' Action Croup of Philadelphia yesterday announced a joint campaign to end housing discrimination in the region.

The announcement was made by officials of the tenants' group and its Fair Housing Action Center and Charles Fancher, vice president/ communication arid public affairs for PNI, which publishes The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News.

The campaign is designed to educate the public and the real estate community about laws that prohibit housing discrimination, TAG and PIN officials said.

"It is regrettable that housing dis crimination remains a problem for the Philadelphia area, and we are pleased that our unique position as publishers of two of the region's leading newspapers permits us to participate in this effort," Fancher said.

"This effort is long overdue," said Elizabeth Hersh, TAG's director. "People are homeless in this city because landlords won't rent to them because of their race, their disability or the fact that they have children."

Fancher said the idea for the campaign originated when TAG told PNI that it had been monitoring ads in both newspapers and "found some of them clearly discriminatory."

For example, TAG cited ads for apartments that said "no children," or "elderly couple sought."

"We agreed. We don't sanction dis crimination. "'The ads were inadvertently run," Fancher said.

PNI yesterday sent letters to its real estate advertisers apprising them of the company's commitment to adhere strictly to fair-housing laws in its ads.

Pin's classified advertising staff is receiving additional training in fair housing laws. The daily classified sections in both papers have notices identifying the kinds of real estate ads prohibited by those laws. The notices provide telephone numbers for reporting complaints.

The newspapers and TAG will sponsor two all-day fair-housing awareness meetings in 1994 - one for real estate advertisers and one for community leaders. Quarter-page ads supporting equal housing opportunity will appear monthly in the Sunday Inquirer real estate section and the Friday Homefront section of the Daily News.