For Immediate Release:
Ashley White, Equal Rights Center, 202.370.3204
EQUAL RIGHTS CENTER LAUNCHES “LOVE THY NEIGHBOR” CAMPAIGN FOCUSED ON HOUSING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 20, 2012 Today the Equal Rights Center (ERC) —a national non-profit civil rights organization— is launching a new PSA campaign that focuses on housing discrimination against same sex couples in the D.C. metro area. The campaign will run in the Washington Post Express and Street Sense starting Monday, September 24, and running through October.
“An individual’s ability to obtain adequate and safe housing of their choice significantly impacts all aspects of daily life,” said ERC Executive Director, Don Kahl. “Through recent civil rights victories, new doors are opening every day for the LGBT community, yet much work remains to ensure equality. The Equal Rights Center hopes this campaign will enlighten even more individuals about their rights to seek housing free from discrimination.”
There is very little research on the prevalence of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation. The most definitive study, conducted by Michigan’s Fair Housing Centers in 2007, found that thirty percent of same-sex couples were treated more negatively than opposite-sex couples when attempting to buy or rent the same property. The differing treatment ranged from outright refusing to sell or rent to a same-sex couple, showing the same-sex couple less desirable properties, quoting higher rent prices, and providing less favorable customer service. Gay individuals also reported verbal harassment from landlords, realtors and lenders.
The D.C. Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination against potential renters or buyers based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but the LGBT community continues to face blatant discriminatory practices when attempting to buy or rent a home. While the federal Fair Housing Act does not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recognized this as a serious problem and issued a 2011 rule prohibiting this type of discrimination in federally funded housing.
With ads running in several D.C. based newspapers, the Love Thy Neighbor campaign seeks to educate LGBT Washingtonians about their fair housing rights and encourage them to contact the Equal Rights Center if they experience discrimination.
To learn more information and view our campaign online, visit www.equalrightscenter.org/lovethyneighbor
About the Equal Rights Center (www.equalrightscenter.org)
Originally formed in 1983, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) is a national non-profit civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. With members located in every state and the District of Columbia, the ERC works nationally to promote equal opportunity in housing, employment, disability rights, immigrant rights, and access to public accommodations and government services for all protected classes under federal, state, and local laws.