From the 1960s to the 1980s, in the Buffalo area it was common to see classified ads for apartments and houses listed by Catholic church parish rather than neighborhood name.
Buffalo is one of the nation’s most Catholic cities, so the bulk of the population would be familiar with the location of the parishes. However, some say this practice was intended to obscure the location of the property from blacks, who likely weren’t Catholic.
Parish adds still appear from time to time, but they’re not as common as in the past. Are such ads legal under US fair housing laws, if the parish name isn’t the common name for the neighborhood? I’ve heard that ads reading “close to churches” are of questionable legality, because it implies only Christian tenants or buyers would be welcome. If that’s the case, would parish ads also be considered illegal?
FWIW, the housing office at the University at Buffalo prohibited posting of apartment listings on campus in languages other than English, because it was seen as discriminatory. Before the policy, many apartment rental ads around campus were in Korean and Chinese; they were placed by landlords of Chinese and Korean ancestry, who apparently only wanted Chinese or Korean tenants.