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The original item was published from 9/29/2016 11:39:45 AM to 11/1/2016 12:00:02 AM.

News Flash

General News

Posted on: September 29, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Resources available to educate on, address fair housing

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Following our annual testing on whether citizens face difficulty in finding housing based on race, religion, disability and other legally protected statuses, the city and Fair Housing Center will provide education and investigate further into potential discrimination.

That education includes a community-wide, free and public fair housing learning opportunity scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 at The Salvation Army, 400 Capital Ave. NE.

The city is required to affirmatively further fair housing as a condition of receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This requires us to identify and address impediments to fair housing choice, defined as actions, omissions or decisions made because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin, which restrict housing choices or the availability of housing choices.

This year the city has taken a larger-scale approach to testing to try and determine whether patterns of discrimination exist – we contracted with the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan to conduct three systemic housing investigations during the 2015-16 program year. The investigations focused on real estate agents and race discrimination, individual landlord investors and race discrimination, and companion animal acceptance.

The testing generally found that:

· There is a lack of understanding about laws related to persons with disabilities who have a companion animal. The city plans to develop outreach and education for the community on this topic.
· No clear patterns were discovered related to individual landlord investors and race discrimination. Testers generally received poor treatment and the units shown were in poor condition. In addition, 14 advertised but uncertified rental units were discovered and reported to the city.
· Following 38 tests (19 matched pairs of test subjects), it was discovered that Battle Creek real estate agents provided better service and treatment to white test subjects, offering more listings, better communication, and fewer discussions on pre-approval requirements than with their black counterparts.

As a result of the real estate findings, the Fair Housing Center will continue to investigate and bring complaints to HUD and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, or pursue litigation, when warranted.

Additional materials related to fair housing are available at our website,

City's Fair Housing web page
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