Latinos Main Target of National Origin Housing Discrimination in Illinois

A combined 56 percent of fair housing complaints filed in Illinois over the last decade involved discrimination based on race and national origin, with much of it targeted towards Latinos, according the Latino Policy Forum, an advocacy organization based in Chicago.

An analysis of HUD data, provided at the request of the Latino Policy Forum, shows that between 2000 and 2011, race continues to pose restrictions on housing choice for many families, with race‐related complaints comprising the basis of nearly half (43 percent) of Illinois’ discrimination‐related complaints. And for discrimination complaints based on national origin, 61 percent involved discrimination towards Latinos. Data was drawn from HUD and its Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP), which includes state and local government organizations charged with investigating and processing fair housing complaints.

In addition to race and national origin, the protected classes of disability, familial status, and gender were the basis of many violations of fair housing law in Illinois, tallying 33, 16, and 10 percent of the bases of complaints, respectively. As protected classes are not mutually exclusive, the combined percentages total more than 100 percent.

In recognition of April as Fair Housing Month, the Latino Policy Forum partnered with local housing‐focused organizations to raise awareness of rights under fair housing law:
• If landlords inquire about a prospective resident’s immigration status, the same must be asked of all applicants.
• It is illegal to require additional documentation or fees for immigrants or perceived immigrants.
• If a prospective tenant brings along a translator, the landlord or agent must work with that translator.

“Housing discrimination is an unacceptable reality for too many groups. But in the case of both immigrant and non‐immigrant Latinos, escalating anti‐immigrant rhetoric is steadily becoming reality—and housing discrimination is just one manifestation of that reality,” Juliana Gonzalez‐Crussi, housing policy analyst for the Latino Policy Forum, said in a statement. “We hear heart‐breaking stories about discrimination based on perceived immigration status, family size, even speaking with an accent, every day. It is upsetting that these things are happening, but it is even more distressing that families don’t know their rights or recourse under the law—particularly when such actions are illegal and unmerited.”

Source: Latino Policy Forum