US Fair Housing: More than 10,000 complaints filed last year, most alleging disability discrimination

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hudlogoWASHINGTON - A record 10,552 fair housing discrimination complaints were filed in fiscal year 2008, according to a report just released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The report, which is produced for Congress each year, shows that a large portion of the complaints, 44 percent, were filed by persons with disabilities. Thirty-five percent, or 3,699, of the complaints alleged discrimination based on race.

"Despite progress, housing discrimination continues in America. We must put a stop to it and stand up for anyone who is unlawfully denied a home of their own," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Fighting against housing discrimination and affirmatively furthering fair housing are twin priorities of HUD and the Obama Administration."

The report describes HUD's enforcement activities that resulted in housing and monetary relief for individuals subjected to illegal discrimination, as well as fines and required education for entities charged with discrimination. For example, HUD obtained:

  • A loan modification for a Hispanic couple that included forgiveness of the entire amount of the second loan, approximately $75,000; provision of a 5 percent fixed interest-rate mortgage; and waiver of all closing costs, points, and fees associated with the loan modification.
  • A $20,000 settlement for a mother who was denied the opportunity to rent a house because she had a child.
  • A $40,000 settlement for a family with a disability that was denied a reasonable accommodation for their child. In addition, $2,500 was donated to an autism group and another $2,500 to an early childhood development center.

In addition, the report also shows the importance of the partnership between HUD and its FHIPs, private fair housing groups and FHAPs, state and local agencies. "HUD has an array of weapons to combat housing discrimination," said Trasviña. "Most important are the partnerships with state, local and other agencies, private fair housing organizations and responsible industry officials who, together with HUD are on the front lines to advance fair housing and fair lending policies."

People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.

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