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

Shane Adams / Flickr

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:
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Online Gambling in D.C: Who Will Lose Money?

Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

D.C-sponsored online gambling will begin late this summer, which is intended to boost city coffers. The measure also raises questions over whether the poor will end up losing money through state-sponsored gambling.

Other forms of state-sponsored gambling have drawn ire from those who feel they unfairly target poor people, as was the case in Maryland and its debate over slot machines. The lottery is described by some as a tax on the poor since low-income earners typically spend more of their income on lottery tickets than people in the middle and upper classes.

WAMU’s Patrick Madden reports that D.C. Lottery officials believe online gamblers will have above-average incomes; the intention is to target tourists and amateurs. Gaming would be restricted to $250 stakes, a pot that isn’t appealing to professional poker players. Councilman Jack Evans (Ward 2) said online gaming would make it easier for people to lose their money; the city’s chief financial officer responded that the demographic concerns over who would lose money in online gambling are the same concerns over who loses money in playing the lottery.

There are some stipulations that could prevent people from getting in over their heads. Gamblers wouldn’t be able to use credit cards, only debit cards. Gambling would be restricted to those who are at least 19 years old and physically located in the District through laptops connected to “hot spots.” The exact locations of those hot spots, though, haven’t been determined yet.

Tweet Of The Day, 05.11

Harry Jaffe says no people making over $200K live in Cleveland Park. A 25-yo couple w/2 lawyers makes over $200K. Lots in CP @TBDNewsTalk
Grtr Grtr Washington

This is in response to Washington Examiner columnist Harry Jaffe’s appearance on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt.

How to Talk about Wealth Disparities

Flickr: Daniel Lobo

Just how rich are the rich? Americans are totally off-the-mark when answering that question, at least according to a recent study [PDF], which found that although the top fifth richest Americans own 85 percent of the country’s wealth, many Americans thought that figure was closer to 59 percent.

Make no mistake, in D.C., the disparities between the rich and poor are severe and were only made worse by the recession: in 2009, median household incomes in parts of Wards 2, 6 and 1 rose significantly but dropped East of the River, and 11 percent of D.C. residents were living in deep poverty, on less than $11,000 for a family of four.

Those are the facts, but just as important is how we frame the disparities between rich and poor. In an opinion piece that ran Monday in The Christian Science Monitor entitled “Do you think the poor are lazy?” (that’s some headline, by the way), Anat Shenker-Osorio writes about the wealth study and the role language plays in our perception of wealth inequality:

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