HUD No. 07-032
April 3, 2007
HOUSING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH
Over 10,000 complaints filed last year; most alleged race or disability discrimination
WASHINGTON– Government agencies received 10,328 housing discrimination complaints, the highest number ever filed in a single year, according to an annual fair housing report released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD's Fiscal Year 2006 report, which details HUD's enforcement efforts during the year, also found that race and disability top the list of reasons why individuals filed complaints.
For the second year in a row, race and disability were virtually tied as the most common bases of housing discrimination reported to HUD and state and local government agencies funded through its Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP). Of the more than 10,000 complaints filed, 40 percent alleged racial discrimination while nearly the same percentage alleged discrimination against persons with disabilities. Complainants, according to the report, most often alleged discrimination in the terms and conditions of the sale or rental of housing, or refusal to rent.
The report was released as a part of National Fair Housing Month, which occurs every April to mark the signing of the Fair Housing Act. This year's theme, for the 39th anniversary of the law, informs housing providers and the public that "Fair Housing: It's Not an Option…It's the Law."
"This report shows the importance of HUD's continued enforcement, education, and outreach activities to ensure that all Americans have access to housing opportunities," explained Kim Kendrick, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "As diverse as this country is, we still see instances where individuals are denied housing because of the color of their skin or because they have physical disabilities that require certain accommodations. Not only is that not acceptable morally, it is against the law."
The report describes HUD's enforcement activities, including summaries of several cases that HUD or FHAP agencies investigated during FY 2006. For example:
- A case that resulted in a $40,000 settlement for an African-American woman in Pennsylvania who was allegedly denied the opportunity to rent a house because of her race.
- A case that resulted in a $7,500 settlement for a couple in Illinois who were allegedly denied the opportunity to rent an apartment because they had a child.
- A case that resulted in a $15,000 settlement for a man with a disability in Hawaii who was allegedly denied permission to make structural modifications that he needed in order to use and enjoy his dwelling.
The report also details HUD's efforts to:
- Educate housing providers and the public about fair housing. For example, in FY 2006, HUD awarded Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) grants totaling $18.1 million to 102 groups. The grants will be used to conduct fair housing enforcement and education activities in FY 2007. During FY 2006, FHIP recipients conducted 697 public events that provided 250,799 people with fair housing information. In addition, HUD launched a media campaign to inform survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita of their rights under the Fair Housing Act. Between January 1, 2006, and September 30, 2006, the campaign received the equivalent of $1.6 million in donated media.
- Increase the stock of accessible housing for persons with disabilities. In FY 2006, HUD obtained agreements from several public housing authorities to make a share of their housing accessible to persons with disabilities. For example,
HUD entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). As part of the agreement, CHA will make 1,325 of its 25,000 housing units accessible for persons with mobility impairments and another 525 units accessible for persons with vision and hearing impairments. HUD also used its Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST program to train 1,185 architects, builders, developers, and other housing professionals on the accessible design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.