Housing Discrimination Against Minorities, the Disabled Persists in Nation’s Capital

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It’s been four decades since the first federal fair housing laws came into the books, but a new report finds that D.C. needs to ratchet up its enforcement against discrimination in housing.

The report, issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and posted below, found that builders are constructing apartment buildings that aren’t handicapped-accessible. It also found that some District landlords still practice racial discrimination against African Americans, and that there’s a lack of subsidized housing units west of Rock Creek Park, in a predominately wealthy and white part of the city.

When a person feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the D.C. Office of Human Rights. The office received 397 house discrimination cases from 2002 to 2010. Complaints, which can contain more than one basis for discrimination, were filed based on the following categories:

  1. Disability (48 percent)
  2. Race (27 percent)
  3. National origin (12 percent)
  4. Sex (11 percent)
  5. Source of income (11 percent)

The discrimination complaints don’t differ much from nationwide trends; the top basis for complaints nationally is also disability, followed by race.

So what are the recommended solutions? Conducting random tests to ensure people aren’t discriminated against when renting and applying for mortgages in the District, the report states. D.C.’s approach thus far has been focused on outreach and education, but that doesn’t seem to be cutting it.

Dc Sac Report on Affh