Survey Reveals Housing Discrimination Still Major Issue in United States

By Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Washington, D.C.—According to a recent survey from Consumer Action, a nonprofit organization focusing on financial education, community-based organizations (CBOs) reported that housing discrimination is still a major problem in the United States for the disabled, immigrants and families with children, among others. The survey included information gathered from 549 CBOs across the country.

According to the survey, 48 percent say that housing discrimination is a “very serious” or “somewhat” serious problem for the people they serve. The top three distinguishing features of people who use CBOs include disability (77 percent), race (62 percent) and family status (60 percent), the survey showed.

“Housing discrimination is all too alive and well in the United States today,” Ken McEldowney, executive director, Consumer Action, said in a press statement. “In fact, the changing face of housing discrimination now tends to zero in more on immigrants, the disabled and families with children than in the past.”

The top problems seen by CBOs as discouraging “the people you serve from pursuing housing discrimination complains” included “cultural issues, such as the fear of authorities” (59 percent), “language barriers (54 percent), and “legal status in the United States” (56 percent).

The survey also found that “refused opportunity to rent or buy housing” (72 percent) and “subjected to different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling” (64 percent) are the top two discrimination problems faced. Additionally, most discrimination cases involved low-tech abuses versus online advertising/postings.

“The ever-shifting focus on housing discrimination makes it doubly hard to root out, since CBOs and other agencies concerned with the problem most constantly educate different segments of the population,” McEldowney said. “Nowhere is this task more challenging than when it comes to immigrant populations that may speak little or no English and also be steeped in cultural heritages that put a premium on distrusting the very authorities that can help them.”

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