Discrimination based on race and disability account for the vast majority of housing discrimination complaints filed in North Carolina, according to a new report by the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina.
The report, titled State of Fair Housing in North Carolina, examined North Carolina fair housing complaint data obtained from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 2000 – 2017. According to the overall data, 42.3% of fair housing complaints filed with HUD alleged race discrimination and 35.9% alleged disability discrimination. However, when looking at the most recent five-year period, disability complaints have become more common (47.6% of complaints) than complaints alleging race discrimination (32.4%), compared to the previous five-year period when race complaints outnumbered complaints based on disability.
The report also looks at the geographic distribution of complaints by county. In absolute numbers, the counties with the highest number of fair housing complaints were Mecklenburg (571), Durham (491), Guilford (314), Wake (276) and Buncombe (205). On a per capita basis, Durham residents filed almost three times more complaints than in Mecklenburg (183.5 per 100,000 people compared to 62.1). Other counties with the highest number of complaints were Durham (183.5 per 100,000 people), Orange (98.7), Buncombe (86.0), Guilford (64.3), and Mecklenburg (62.1).
Although certain counties had the highest numbers of filed complaints, it does not necessarily mean it is because these counties have the highest rates of discrimination. Jeffrey Dillman, Co-Director of the Fair Housing Project, said, “There are a variety of possible reasons why certain counties had the highest numbers of complaints, including the size of the county population or residents in these counties may be more knowledgeable about fair housing rights and the resources available to help them exercise those rights. More fair housing education and outreach is needed across our state to ensure equal housing opportunities for all North Carolinians, particularly in rural areas where decent and affordable housing may be more difficult to secure.”
More from this Newsletter Issue: Winter 2019
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