WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has launched a national public service announcement (PSA) campaign that will educate the public, especially minorities, about their rights under the lending provisions of the federal Fair Housing Act.
The centerpiece of the bilingual campaign is a television PSA featuring Dennis Haysbert, who is best known for his role as President Palmer in the Emmy award-winning television series "24."
The PSA shows Haysbert, sitting in a café, drawing his dream home on a napkin and explaining that it is illegal to discriminate in lending because of someone's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. The PSA ends with the tagline "HUD - One Call. Many Answers," and encourages people to call HUD's fair housing hotline, 1 (800) 669-9777, or log onto HUD's Web site, www.hud.gov/fairhousing, if they believe they have experienced lending discrimination.
The campaign, which is being administered by West Coast-based Pacific News Service, also includes radio PSAs and newspaper ads that illustrate the kinds of challenges many minority homebuyers face when they attempt to purchase a home. The campaign is in both English and Spanish. In addition, the campaign will include a series of fair lending forums designed to inform faith-based organizations, housing professionals, and the general public about HUD resources and programs that can assist in eradicating unfair and discriminatory lending practices.
"HUD studies confirm that African Americans and Hispanics trying to become homeowners are often given less information about loan terms, are quoted higher rates and fees, and are sometimes discouraged from applying for loans," said Kim Kendrick, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Hopefully, this compelling campaign will empower existing and prospective minority homeowners to report these incidents so that they can receive help."
The Fair Housing Acts makes it unlawful to discriminate in the sale, rental, and financing of a home on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1 (800) 669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.