The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development launched a sexual harassment campaign to kick off fair housing month.
HUD launched its “Call HUD: Because Sexual Harassment in Housing is Illegal” campaign Monday, along with a training initiative to help protect residents in HUD-assisted housing from harassment by landlords, property managers and maintenance workers.
HUD explained that the new initiative will help increase the agency’s efforts to educate residents in HUD-assisted housing about what behaviors constitute sexual harassment, as well as what to do and who to contact if they experience it.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in housing transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or family status. This year, HUD is especially focused on protecting the right of individuals to feel safe and secure in their homes, free from sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances.
“Complaints we receive and cases we see tell us that there are some housing providers who unfortunately prey on vulnerable men and women,” said Anna María Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “No one should have to tolerate harassment or unwanted sexual advances in order to keep a roof over their head, and HUD will continue to take appropriate action when discrimination of this type occurs.”
Last year, HUD announced it was recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act with its initiative to increase awareness and reporting of sexual harassment in housing.
The initiative with the U.S. Department of Justice, which was unveiled in April 2018 by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, created an interagency task force to combat sexual harassment in housing. It also included an outreach toolkit and a public awareness campaign.
This year, throughout the month of April, the “Humans of HUD” photoblog will feature victims of sexual harassment in housing, highlighting the personal testimonies of survivors and those who helped them.
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity will introduce the “Call HUD” campaign during the Department’s Fair Housing Month opening program, which will take place at HUD headquarters, 451 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, inside the Brooke-Mondale Auditorium.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.