HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A racist housing ad is stirring up emotions in Henrico County! It advertises a house for rent and a contact number but a closer look and you'll see it says this house is for whites only. It was posted in the county's far West End at the intersection of Gayton Road and Cambridge Drive.
Housing Opportunities Made Equal launched an investigation and were able to question the homeowner. But tonight they still can't prove whether the ad intentionally sought out white renters. It's a sign right out of the 1960's but in 2011 it's in full color. Once taped to the corner of this busy intersection, the housing ad is geared to a very specific clientele.
"I don't agree with it and I don't think it's right but sadly enough it does still go on," said neighbor, Marcus Bennett.
The sign caught the attention of people driving by. They contacted Housing Opportunities Made Equal, or H.O.M.E. for short, which launched an investigation and contacted the numbers listed on the ad.
"Initially we called posing as a prospective renter," said H.O.M.E. director, Amy Nelson. "We were able to reach somebody who indicated that the house had in fact been rented."
The whites only house for rent sign was posted at a busy intersection but it since been removed. Nelson, isn't so sure that this ad was an accident. On the phone with the homeowner Nelson questioned him about the whites only ad.
"He did not respond one way or another confirming or denying that language," said Nelson.
So we called the number for ourselves. The person who answered denied knowing anything about the sign even asking why someone would post something like that in the first place. But it's more common than you might think. Nelson has seen complaints of people posting housing ads like this mostly on online websites like Craig's List. Either way it's against the law.
"The use of whites only is unlawful under law and that enforcement actions could be filed against individuals who follow through on that and advertising," said Nelson.
Nelson said that an ad like this would just be a civil matter in court. Because the sign was posted at an intersection they never could actually find the home itself. The names and addresses associated with the numbers on the sign were unlisted.