Caught this little tidbit in Newsweek
Katrina—Welcome: 'White Couple'
Jan. 9, 2006 issue – As Katrina evacuees scrambled to find homes, whites were given incentives to rent in some places, while blacks were charged extra or politely turned away 66 percent of the time, according to a five-state report by the National Fair Housing Alliance. The group filed complaints against five complexes with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in December—and will likely file more this month. Its New Orleans affiliate, the Fair Housing Action Center, is also suing five online housing billboards for troubling posts. On katrinahousing.org, for example, offers for shelter have been extended to a “white American family” or “a white couple.” Paul Wilson, the site's director, says he may now install a filter for those posts. “We're not trying to discriminate—just provide housing for those that need it.”
The complaints come as FEMA's Jan. 7 deadline for covering temporary housing costs fast approaches. Many of the 37,000 families in hotels and motels will soon need to find permanent homes. This month, HUD's launching a national ad campaign to encourage evacuees to report discrimination. “Because [the bias] is so subtle, it's extremely effective,” says Shanna Smith, the alliance's president. And it's one more barrier for the homeless.
Housing discrimination is nothing new to Pittsburgh residents, particularly along lines of race. Your lesbian correspondents have become fair housing testers through the Fair Housing Partnership of Pittsburgh. Its not particularly hard or complicated. And its good to have something concrete to “do” to help.
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