After a two-week hiatus due to some fair housing quickening, Highlander-style, the Fair Housing 5 is back this week. This week’s selection leans on the ways that housing discrimination occurs beyond a housing provider refusing to rent or sell a property to someone on the grounds of their race, familial status, sex, etc. You may hear terms like redlining and steering talked about mostly in the past tense, but sadly they are still around and, in some cases, appear to even be in resurgence. In addition to the Ghost of Housing Discrimination Past, people are now using social networking sites to profile and harass neighbors of different demographic statuses. No, seriously. Just read the stories below, and keep your eyes checked next week for more stories from around the fair housing world.
Think redlining is a thing of the past? Think again. Brentin Mock, of Citylab, has compiled a list of several current cases of redlining, detailing how this generation of redlining tactics are much less obvious than those of the Jim Crow era. [Citylab]
Speaking of shady, predatory financial practices that target people of color, ProPublica examined the pattern of debt collection lawsuits in predominantly Black neighborhoods in St. Louis, Chicago, and Newark. The results of their investigation revealed that areas with a high percentage of low-income, minority residents have a much higher incidence of judgments related to debt lawsuits. The data seems to indicate that housing segregation, in addition to all of the problems associated with it, also puts a financial target on the backs of disenfranchised residents. [ProPublica, 2]
As evidenced above, housing discrimination isn’t simply the refusal to rent or sell a house to someone. It’s absolutely possible to discriminate against someone while simultaneously providing them housing. To wit, a couple of landlords in Denver, CO, have been charged with housing discrimination for steering families with children to units located at the rear of an apartment building while trying to keep families without children relegated to the front of the building. The Fair Housing Act, as many of you may know, forbids the practice of limiting the housing options to anyone who have children under the age of 18 living with them. [9News KUSA]
The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced this week that it has charged a housing provider in South Dakota for the sexual harassment of a tenant. The housing provider, HUD explains in its release, subjected a female tenant to ongoing verbal harassment, unwanted physical conduct, and on at least one occasion entered the woman’s home – while she was inside – without acquiring her permission beforehand. [HUD]
Housing discrimination only happens in the tactile world, right? Wrong. Some residents of Oakland, CA, are using new (and said to be popular) social network app Nextdoor to “frequently post unsubstantiated ‘suspicious activity’ warnings that result in calls to the police on Black citizens” for such innocuous behavior as waiting at bus stops, making U-turns, and hanging around outside coffee shops. The full report at East Bay Express is just further evidence that we really can’t have nice things. [East Bay Express]