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Race Discrimination in Los Angeles County

by Stephanie Knapik Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM
sknapik@housingrightscenter.org (213) 387-8400 3255 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90010

A private, non profit civil rights organization files two race discrimination cases in Los Angeles against two large corporate landowners.

The Housing Rights Center (HRC), as part of its Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Private Enforcement Initiative Project, recently settled two lawsuits totaling $37,500. The lawsuits were filed last year in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against two large corporate landowners for violations of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

The FHIP Project, funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allows fair housing organizations to proactively root out and address discrimination, recognizing that housing discrimination is grossly under-reported.

In both cases, HRC conducted several on-site rental tests for race discrimination at apartment buildings. In tests conducted in the first case, an African American applicant was told no apartments were available to rent at the building, while a Caucasian applicant was shown a vacant apartment moments after the African-American applicant was turned away. The Caucasian applicant was told that the apartment was available immediately.

In the second case, HRC investigated a large apartment building for race discrimination. The property was visited by African American and Caucasian persons posing as potential applicants. On each occasion, the African American applicant was told that no apartments would be available for weeks, while the Caucasian applicant was shown a vacant unit immediately and told that an apartment would be available in a matter of days.

“These two cases corroborate the findings reported by HUD in June 2013, of the results of the nationwide project called the 2012 Housing Discrimination Study: Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities. The study's findings confirm that the struggle to end housing discrimination remains unfinished. Real estate agents and rental housing providers recommend and show fewer available homes and apartments to minorities than equally qualified whites. The Los Angeles area was one of the 28 metropolitan areas where testing was used to measure the incidence and forms of discrimination experienced by black, Hispanic, and Asian renters and homebuyers,” stated Stephanie Knapik, HRC’s FHIP Project Director.

Individuals who believe they are victims of housing discrimination or who have questions about the fair housing laws may contact HRC for information at 1-800-477-5977 (voice) or 213-201-0867 (TTY).
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