|HUD No. 00-77|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Friday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||April 14, 2000|
HUD & CONSUMER ACTION UNVEIL CAMPAIGN TO REDUCE HOUSING DISCRIMINATION, FEATURING EDWARD JAMES OLMOS
LOS ANGELES - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and Consumer Action today announced a nationwide public education campaign to reduce housing discrimination, including television and radio public service announcements featuring actor Edward James Olmos.
The public service announcements - in both English and Spanish - will tell viewers that housing discrimination comes in many forms. For example, a person could be discriminated against because of race, disability or family status. The campaign will encourage people who feel they've been victims of housing discrimination to file a complaint with HUD by calling 1-800-669-9777 or on HUD's website.
"Housing discrimination is illegal and intolerable, and HUD is working to end it across the nation" Cuomo said. "We want everyone to understand that HUD will help them uphold their legal right to live in any home and in any neighborhood they can afford."
Olmos said: "It's a privilege for me to be part of HUD's unprecedented outreach campaign to ensure that individuals emigrating to America from all countries and cultures are aware of the protections we provide against housing discrimination. I am committed to this effort and to those who will continue to deliver the message of fair housing for all."
Olmos joined HUD Secretary's Representative for the Pacific Region Art Agnos in unveiling the public service announcements at a town hall meeting on the Fair Housing Act at UCLA's School of Law in Los Angeles.
The HUD nationwide education project is being carried out in partnership with Consumer Action, a San Francisco-based non-profit that organizes and manages consumer education campaigns.
"Consumer Action is partnering with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make sure that the outreach effort takes into account the fact that many traditionally underserved immigrants come from nations where housing rights are not a matter of law," said Consumer Action Executive Director Ken McEldowney. "For these newcomers to America, they need to first understand that they have rights and how to avail themselves of their legal protections."
The campaign will include the distribution of fact sheets, posters, and videos to a wide range of community based and non-profit organizations as well as state and local government offices, churches, health clinics and other public areas. The fact sheets will be available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese.
The Fair Housing Act bars housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status and national origin. It covers the sale, rental, financing and advertising of almost all housing in the nation.
Cuomo said HUD will be able to increase its efforts to combat housing discrimination even further if President Clinton's new budget request for a 14 percent increase in funding for HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is approved. The President is asking Congress for $50 million for HUD's anti-discrimination office in the Fiscal Year 2001 Federal Budget - up from $44 million the current fiscal year, $40 million in FY 1999, and $30 million in FY 1998.