Fair Housing

FAIR HOUSING 5

The Act “prohibits discrimination in housing based onrace, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability (handicap)and familial status” (The Leadership Conference, 2016).Nevertheless, fair housing progresses to be far from achievable forall Americans. Although explicit methods of discrimination, like theoutright rebuttal to rent or sell houses to some people havedeclined, more restrained methods like sending home seekers tospecific neighborhoods, progress to be prevalent. For instance,racial seclusion in housing has led to the formation of regions thatare occupied by poor people, and who mainly come from minoritysocieties.

Fair housing discrimination involves differential as well asdisparate treatment. The first refers to the presence of conditionsin advertising, selling or renting, funding or house insurance aimedat limiting housing choices or opportunities to own a house for somepeople. The latter regards to neutral rules that limite the abilityto choose a house. For instance, “policies such as mortgage pricingpractices that are unrelated to creditworthiness or local residencypreferences for housing choice vouchers – even when notintentionally discriminatory – may in practice deny equal housingopportunity” (U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development,2014). The established local, federal and state enforcement systemshave been unable to ensure fair housing. This is because the policiesaimed at promoting fair housing have been ineffective in dealing withhousing discrimination.

It is approximated that 3.7 million incidences of housing prejudicetake place every year based on race. Currently, home seekers fromminority populations have a higher likelihood of encountering biasedtreatment, referred to as “discrimination with a smile” by forexample, being informed that housing units are unavailable (U.SDepartment of Housing and Urban Development, 2014). In a housingdiscrimination research conducted in 2012, the study concluded thateligible minority home seekers who were able to schedule time tovisit a home, were highly likely than white home seekers, to bemisinformed of all available units or even shown less units.Consequently, home seekers from the minority populations spend moremoney searching for houses in addition to having limited choices.Current research supposes that there is ongoing bias against peoplewho are not protected by the Act. These includehomosexuals, who receive fewer responses about the availability ofhouses when compared to heterosexuals.

Implications Needed

Political, social and economic implications are needed to solve thewidespread unfair treatment towards home seekers in order to promotefair housing. Politically, policymakers should implement morestringent laws, which guarantee that any housing provider found to bepracticing favoritism is held accountable. The U.S Department ofHousing and Urban Development (2014) admits that enforcementresults in a decline in housing discrimination. Individuals are lesslikely to commit an offence knowing that they will be charged. Thesame case applies to providers. Once they realize that the governmentis focused on ensuring fair housing for all Americans, they becomemore accommodating of housing diversity. In addition, policymakersshould work on creating new laws that make housing affordable. Thisway, more people are able to afford houses, regardless of theirincome. This strategy will ensure that minority populations are notlimited to living in certain areas due to the inability to afforddecent housing.

Socially, it is important to enhance education on fair housing.Regardless of the efforts that have been made, by different promotersof fair housing within the industry, the public’s knowledge aboutfair housing progresses to be too low. Public education should entailinforming home seekers and providers on fair housing laws andinterpreting the law. This includes informing those intending topurchase or rent houses on their rights, and enlightening providerson how they can ensure they comply with the law, as they providehousing services. Additionally, the public needs to be educated onthe need for housing fairness and ways in which it improves society.When the public becomes aware of laws aimed at avoiding housingdiscrimination, it becomes possible to expose providers who arebiased. This is because, the federal approach towards fair housingrelies largely on actions taken by people who are aware that theyhave been unfairly treated when planning to purchase or rent a house,and have filed a complaint (U.S Department of Housing and UrbanDevelopment, 2014).

Economic implications include using incentives to ensure thathousing is affordable to all people. For instance, the government hasalready suggested the “use of grant money as an incentive forcommunities to build affordable housing in more affluent areas whilealso taking steps to upgrade poorer areas” (Devaney, 2015). Theupgrading will entail ensuring that poor neighborhoods have betterlearning institutions, stores, transportation and libraries. Such apolicy eliminates the barriers to decent housing for poorcommunities. In addition, by allocating money to improve poorneighborhoods, the government works towards having similar housingfor people of different races, social classes or sexuality. Thepolicy as well breaks the assumption that underprivileged peopleshould live in poor conditions, and that they can never afford decenthousing.

References

Devaney, T. (2015). Obama making bid to diversify wealthyneighborhoods. The Hill. Retrieved from:http://thehill.com/regulation/244620-obamas-bid-to-diversify-wealthy-neighborhoods

The Leadership Conference. (2016). Fair housing enforcement atHUD is failing. Retrieved from:http://www.civilrights.org/publications/reports/fairhousing/enforcement-hud.html

U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2014).Expanding opportunity through fair housing choice. Retrieved from:https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/spring14/highlight1.html