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  • New National Report Reveals Highest Number of Housing Discrimination Complaints to Date

New National Report Reveals Highest Number of Housing Discrimination Complaints to Date

Photo © by Bernard Kleina

August 31, 2023


The Fair Housing Justice Center is a member of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) which has released new data showing that the number of housing discrimination complaints rose to more than 33,000 nationwide last year, the highest on record. In a troubling turn, domestic violence related complaints saw a noticeable increase along with complaints based on source of income, according to new data published in the latest Fair Housing Trends Report.

There were 33,007 fair housing complaints received last year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and private non-profit fair housing organizations (FHOs) like the FHJC, a 5.74 percent jump compared to 2021 when 31,216 complaints were filed. This represents the highest number of complaints ever reported in a single year.

FHOs processed 73.94 percent of complaints nationally, compared to 5.80 percent by HUD, 20.15 percent by FHAP agencies, and 0.11 percent by the DOJ. As the numbers show, private fair housing organizations are at the forefront of fair housing enforcement. They are in dire need of more funding and resources to continue their important work of investigating complaints, collecting data, providing fair housing counseling and education to consumers, and helping clients file complaints with appropriate authorities.

As in previous years, the latest findings show that discrimination based on disability accounted for the majority (53.26 percent) of complaints filed nationally in 2022. In New York, disability discrimination also accounts for the largest number of complaints: 700 out of 1,904 (37 percent).

Nationally, there were 2,490 complaints of sex-based discrimination, the highest number recorded since NFHA began collecting such data in 2005. There was also a significant increase of 39.8 percent in complaints regarding source of income last year compared to the year before. Complaints of discrimination against people who have experienced domestic violence also spiked, with 289 reported complaints last year, compared to 172 in 2021.

These new findings show that housing discrimination is still affecting many people and communities. But even the unprecedented number of complaints doesn’t account for the many incidents of housing discrimination that go unreported due to fear of retaliation or eviction, or because they are difficult to identify or document.

“Given the spike in reported housing complaints during the nation’s fair and affordable housing crisis, we must redouble our efforts to secure adequate resources for the organizations and agencies — on the local, state, and federal level — working to advance fair housing,” stated NFHA president Lisa Rice.

“Laws are only as effective as the enforcement efforts behind them,” added FHJC Executive Director/General Counsel Elizabeth Grossman. “Without a major increase in resources for enforcing fair housing laws, housing providers will continue to discriminate with impunity, and the harmful cycle of discrimination and segregation will continue.”

The report includes submissions from 86 NFHA member organizations, all of which are either private non-profit fair housing organizations or fair housing programs of legal aid agencies. HUD’s 10 regional offices along with 77 state and local government agencies that participate in HUD’s FHAP program provided additional data. The report also contains information gathered from the DOJ.

The mission of the FHJC, a nonprofit civil rights organization, is to eliminate housing discrimination; promote policies and programs that foster open, accessible, and inclusive communities; and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws in the New York City region.