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Discrimination is a difference in treatment based on a tenant or homeseeker being a member of a protected class.

Here's what you need to know

Is the tenant or homeseeker a member of a protected class?

Is there evidence that difference in treatment is based on a protected class?
  • witnesses:  get written statements ASAP!
  • documents: letters or memos, policy statements

Can the behavior be "tested"?  Can a person posing as a home seeker document how she/he is treated based on similar "facts"?

The basics

  • Difference in treatment is not by itself discrimination.  Discrimination occurs when the difference in treatment is based on the tenant/homeseeker being a member of a protected class
  • Sometimes policies which are neutral on their face have the effect of discrimination.  (disparate impact)

What's going on?
  • Tenant or homeseeker believes that she/he is being discriminated against
  • You heard the story and wondered if the tenant was being treated differently because of she/he is a member of a protected class
  • You believe that tenant/homeseeker with a disability may obtain or defend stable housing by requesting a reasonable accommodation or a reasonable modification.
Systemic Change
At the Building or property
maybe you notice that certain demographic groups never live at certain locations, but there's no sign of overt discrimination and no complaints from homeseekers.  The problem is probably two fold 
  • Two generations of renters and advocates have grown up without seeing signs of discrimination ("no children or dogs") and
  • landlords have become more sophisticated targetting their outreach to specific sub groups as the mass media have become fragmented. 
Ground Truths from PRAAC's September 2013 newsletter offers some tips on detecting hidden discrimination-it is attached a the bottom of the page.

At the Community level
  • educating minority communities!  there's an initiative in DC that educates minority homeseekers around "what to look for."
  • analysis of impediments use the new terminology

Spencer Wells,
Oct 11, 2013, 4:49 AM