In conjunction with Fair Housing Month in April, the Human Relations Commission is starting a media campaign to raise public awareness of fair housing laws and predatory lending practices targeted at minorities.
The campaign will run through December and will include newspaper, radio, television and Internet advertisements. Advertisements will run on English and Spanish-language media.
Newspaper advertisements prepared for the campaign address housing discrimination. The radio, television and Internet advertisements address lending discrimination and predatory lending. Both practices are illegal under fair housing laws.
In Winston-Salem, the Human Relations Department is authorized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to handle housing discrimination complaints. Wanda Allen-Abraha, the human relations director, said, “The goal of our campaign is to make certain that all people understand that there are laws in place to protect them and their most valuable asset: their home…. It is our hope that more people will exercise their right to fair housing terms and conditions as a result of this public outreach effort.”
Nationwide, more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints were filed last year with HUD and local agencies responsible for fair housing claims, said Gordon Patterson, the fair housing and equal opportunity director for the HUD field office in Greensboro. “Still,” he said, “we know that numerous incidents of discrimination go unreported, in part because people don’t know where or how to file a complaint.”
The Human Relations Department, with the support of the Human Relations Commission advisory board, enforces and encourages fair treatment and equal rights for the citizens of the city of Winston-Salem. The Human Relations Department has three key areas of responsibility: Investigating housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, family status, and gender; mediating landlord/tenant complaints; and conducting cultural diversity education and inclusion training and outreach.
For more information about the city’s human relations programs, call City Link at 727-8000.