By Lauren Brasil
NC Fair Housing Project, a Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina
Discrimination based on race and disability account for the vast majority of housing discrimination complaints filed in North Carolina, according to a new report by the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina. During the 18-year period studied by the report, a total of 3,303 complaints were filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or equivalent state and local government fair housing agencies.
The report, titled State of Fair Housing in North Carolina (2018), found that in the period 2000-2017, 42.3% of fair housing complaints filed with HUD alleged racial discrimination and 35.9% raised disability discrimination. The next most common allegations were national origin discrimination (18.8%), familial status (14.2%), and sex (12.3%).
In the past five years, the report noted that disability discrimination claims became more common (47.6% of complaints) than those raising race claims (32.4%), compared to the previous 5-year period when race claims outnumbered those filed based on disability.
The report found that in absolute numbers, the counties with the highest number of fair housing complaints were Mecklenburg (571), Durham (491), Guilford (314), Wake (276) and Buncombe (205). However, on a per capita basis, Durham residents filed almost three times more complaints than in Mecklenburg (183.5 per 100,000 people compared to 62.1). Other counties with the highest number of complaints were Durham (183.5 per 100,000 people), Orange (98.7), Buncombe (86.0), Guilford (64.3), and Mecklenburg (62.1).
In addition to examining fair housing complaint data, the report includes a summary of the protection and enforcement provisions of the fair housing laws and an examination of North Carolina’s population demographics, with a focus on characteristics that are protected by our fair housing laws.