Housing ads for Katrina victims violate federal fair housing law

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It is a violation of federal law to publish ads that restrict housing applicants by race, sex, color, religion, or national origin. However, such ads have popped up on several post-Katrina-related websites, including nola.com, the official website of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Other sites that violate the law are dhronline.org and katrinahousing.org, Katrinahousing.org, in fact, was singled out by FEMA for praise for its contribution in helping with the housing crisis.

People will no doubt use the “this is an emergency” excuse to let the offending websites get by, but if we do not protect people’s rights during an emergency, what is the point of protecting them at all? FEMA is so out of touch that it comes as no surprise it would praise a site without taking a closer look at it. For the Times-Picayune to publish a site that violates federal fair housing laws, however, is inexcusable and a further embarrassment to New Orleans.

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center
has filed a complaint, and at least one of the sites has closed down.

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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