Testing in Virginia Suggests Need for Fair Housing Education

The results of fair housing testing in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Va., is a call to action to increase fair housing education, outreach, advocacy, and enforcement, according to the Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA).

Last year, PHA engaged the services of HOME (Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc.) to conduct testing to gauge local compliance with federal and state fair housing laws. The testing focused on three areas: race (African American and white), disability, and familial status (presence of children under 18). Tests were done in person at housing sites and on the telephone, for a total of 36 tests representing 56 housing transactions.

The study findings indicate that housing discrimination based on race, disability, and familialstatus may limit housing opportunities for people in the City of Charlottesville and AlbemarleCounty, according to the PHA. Key differences included:

  • Discouragement and inconsistent application of procedures based on race;
  • Lack of awareness about rights of people with disabilities to reasonable accommodations and modifications; and
  • Discouragement and inconsistent application of procedures for families with children.

The study also noted best practices, including a housing provider who positively referenced fair housing responsibilities.

PHA said that the study indicated a need for greater fair housing education and advocacy in the community, to promote both awareness and compliance with civil rights laws and equal housing opportunity. In particular, the study findings suggest the need for education on:

  • Consistent application policies;
  • Standard application procedures;
  • Policies on reasonable accommodations and modifications; and
  • Guidelines on nondiscriminatory occupancy policies.

Source: Piedmont Housing Alliance


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