Washington, DC – Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) released its 2014 Fair Housing Trends Report, “Expanding Opportunity: Systemic Approaches to Fair Housing”. The report highlights how the federal government and nonprofit organizations have increased systemic fair housing enforcement through broad-based approaches and traditional case-by-case practices. The report also peers into housing discrimination on a regional level, drawing connections between the rate of segregation and the level of reported housing discrimination.
NFHA: Fair housing complaints remained relatively steady
According to report results, fair housing complaints, amounting to 27,352 in 2013, have remained relatively steady compared to recent years. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that the number of reported complaints represents less than one percent of the four million instances of housing discrimination that occur each year.
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In 2013, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) demonstrated an ongoing commitment to fair housing. The number of complaints initiated by the HUD Secretary more than doubled from 2012 levels, showing an increased effort to investigate housing discrimination. HUD also announced three key policies addressing disability discrimination, disparate impact and the promotion of residential diversity. The Department of Justice also maintained a similar focus, concentrating on fair lending discrimination, persistent sexual harassment against female tenants in rental housing and filing 16 percent more cases than in 2012.
“The federal government has really stepped up its commitment to addressing housing discrimination,” said Shanna L. Smith, NFHA’s President and CEO. “For years, fair housing advocates called on HUD to provide guidance on fair housing issues and they have done just that. Congress has also done its part by increasing funding to private non-profit fair housing groups, helping them educate the public of their rights and to tackle housing discrimination head on in their local communities.”
Private fair housing groups received an increase in complaints of discrimination in real estate sales, homeowners insurance, and in housing advertisements. These groups also increased their systemic fair housing work, taking on harmful zoning practices against people with disabilities in addiction-treatment facilities; pervasive discrimination against deaf and hard of hearing apartment seekers; and residency preferences that keep families with children people of color out of neighborhoods of their choice.
Key Findings In The NFHA Report:
- Complaints about discriminatory advertising—with language such as “no kids” or “no service animals”, for example—increased by 52%;
- Homeowners insurance discrimination complaints increased by 59% from 2012 to 2013;
- Real estate sales complaints increased by 19%;
- 27,352 housing discrimination complaints were filed nationwide in 2013;
- Private, nonprofit fair housing organizations investigated 69% of all complaints, more than twice as many as all governmental agencies combined;
- The highest incidence of all types of housing discrimination occurred in regions with the most segregated metropolitan areas.
The 2014 Trends Report also includes a new regional analysis of housing discrimination complaints. The report found that racial discrimination was most often reported in the most racially and ethnically segregated metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States. Half of all complaints in 2013 were reported in just two of HUD’s 10 regions: Regions 4. which includes the Southern and Southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and Region 5, which includes the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Combined, Regions 4 and 5 incorporate 16 of the 25 most segregated MSAs in the country. The report also found that the number of reporting private non-profit organizations and amount of federal funding for local fair housing enforcement in each region influences the total number of complaints in each region.
“Historically segregated cities across our nation continue to be hot-beds for housing discrimination,” said Smith. “Families can go to non-profit fair housing organizations if they are denied housing because of who they are or what they look like. Congress must act to increase funding for existing fair housing groups and to create new organizations where there currently are none. When a fair housing organization is present and funded properly, justice is served and families can live their lives free from discrimination.”
To read NFHA’s 2014 Trends Report and view graphics including U.S. maps with regional information about housing discrimination complaints, please go to www.nationalfairhousing.org.
Shanna L. Smith, NFHA’s President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, is available for interviews.
About the National Fair Housing Alliance (www.nationalfairhousing.org)
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the National Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Through comprehensive education, advocacy and enforcement programs, NFHA protects and promotes residential integration and equal access to apartments, houses, mortgage loans and insurance policies for all residents of the nation.
View Report at: www.nationalfairhousing.org