Jay Wilkinson - Housing (In)Equality

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Legal Aid presentation from One Minneapolis: A Call to Action! conference December 2, 2011 hosted by the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights

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  • Nobody asked me to move out when I was in France fighting in mud and water for this country. I came out here to make this house my home. I have a right to establish a home. “ Arthur Lee 1931
  • Jay Wilkinson - Housing (In)Equality

    1. 1. 2011 FAIR HOUSING AUDIT
    2. 2. FOR THE FAIR HOUSING IMPLEMENTATION COUNCILBy: The Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis Housing Discrimination Law Project
    3. 3.  At 5 of the 17properties, testers were treated equally (29%). At 12 of 17 properties (71%), testers experienced materially differential treatment. Differential treatment –  when testers received different information concerning the availability of a rental or  where the calls of one tester were not returned but another was invited to view the home. In 9 of 12 cases, differential treatment favored White testers over African American testers or persons perceived to be immigrants. In 3 cases, the opposite: White testers got worse treatment.
    4. 4. Status Tested Number of # D.T. # E.T. # Poor C.S. Incomplete TestsRace 9 6 3 1 1National Origin 2 2 0 0 0(Somali)National Origin 5 4 1 1 0(Latino)Disability 1 0 1 0 0
    5. 5. Location Status Tester 1 Tester 1 Tester 1 Tester 2 Tester 2 Tester 2 tested Voicemails Callback? Voicemails Callback?1. Cottage National White 0 N/A (site Latino 3 Showing Grove origin visited) canceled.(may not besubsidizedproperty)2(a). Eagan National White 0 N/A (site Latino 0 N/A (site origin visited) visited) Told “2 Told “no openings.” openings.”2(b). Eagan National White 0 N/A (site Latino 3 Never(same) origin visited)3. Coon National White 2 Yes Somali 3 Never Rapids origin
    6. 6. 1. Cottage Grove Testers: White and Latino Favored: White Differences:1. White tester completed a site visit; was told a unit was available2. Latino tester left 3 messages; no call back3. Latino tester called for the 4th time; was given an appointment4. Latino tester was called on the day of appointment to cancel5. Latino tester was told the apartment had been rentedConclusion: This test shows differential treatment. Tests may havebeen at an unsubsidized property.
    7. 7. 2(a). Eagan Testers: White and Latino Favored: White Differences:1. White tester completed a site visit; told two units available2. Latino tester was given an appointment; told one unit available3. Latino tester was told in person the unit had been rented 2(b). Another set of tests was completed:1. White tester completed a site visit; told two units available2. Latino tester left 3 messages; no call backConclusion: This test shows differential treatment. accent. (Reportedas a single finding of differential treatment.)
    8. 8. 3. Coon Rapids Testers: White and Somali Favored: White Differences:1. White tester left 2 messages; received a call back2. White tester completed a site visit; told one unit available3. White tester was told other units available in March4. Somali tester left 3 messages; did not receive call backConclusion: This test shows differential treatment.
    9. 9.  Three properties tested: 1. Test for disability – no differences. 2. Test for race - white tester given application, African American not given application. 2010 test showed difference by race when AA person’s calls were not returned. 3. Test for national origin - white tester told to call back in a month, Latina told no openings for rest of year.
    10. 10.  1. A single instance of different treatment may have been a mistake. 2. These rentals were chosen because the complex had gov’t. money -- most had no openings and could not be tested. 3. The Fair Housing Implementation Council and its member cities and counties are considering actions this fall.
    11. 11.  More testing and enforcement. Adopt a comprehensive equal housing opportunity policy. A model policy may be obtained from Legal Aid, a FHIC member organization.
    12. 12. Do an employee performance review concerning fairhousing expectations. At a minimum, persons whofailed to provide equal treatment to potential rentersshould be told that such behavior is unacceptable andwill not be tolerated.Adopt an affirmative marketing plan which ensuresthat your business attracts rental applicants from theentire range of populations in the metropolitan area,in particular finding ways to bring in home-seekerswho are now least likely to apply. Use the free rentalmarketing services of HousingLink:http://www.housinglink.org .
    13. 13. Take an inventory of your renters. Do you serve adiverse population? Audit your records of inquiriesand applicants to determine whether all persons havegotten good customer service when they inquiredabout renting from your business. If this reviewshows short-comings, come up with a remediationplan that addresses those problems.See that your staff is regularly trained for fair housing.FHIC can recommend experienced trainers.
    14. 14.  The Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis James Wilkinson jewilkinson@midmnlegal.org 612-746-3784 www.mylegalaid.org www.lawhelpmn.org

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