Rental market unkind to those with developmental disabilities

As people with developmental disabilities increasingly live in community-based settings, a first-of-its-kind report is finding that they face a multitude of barriers in obtaining housing.

by Shaun Heasley, Disability Scoop September 7, 2017

When inquiring about rental units, people with disabilities often get no response. They are less likely than others to be told that a unit is available or invited to check it out. And frequently, they are treated adversely or encouraged to look at a different unit than what was advertised.

These are the findings of a report released this week that was produced for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development looking at discrimination in the rental housing market against those with developmental disabilities and mental illness.

The study comes as more with disabilities leave nursing homes and other institutional facilities for community-based living options.

While it is illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in renting, selling or financing housing, such complaints accounted for more than half of housing discrimination claims last year. Accordingly, the government sought to better understand the types of discrimination individuals face and how common it is.

For the report, researchers examined previous studies on the rental experiences of those with disabilities and conducted focus groups with individuals in this population as well as with advocates and policymakers.

Subsequently, they asked over 2,000 individuals — half with developmental disabilities or mental illness and half without disabilities — to seek out rental housing in multiple urban markets using email, phone or in-person inquiries.

The study found “significant levels of adverse differential treatment” toward individuals with disabilities. Likewise, requests for reasonable accommodations ranging from having a service animal to getting a verbal reminder about when rent is due were frequently met with resistance.

The findings suggest that broader efforts are needed to educate housing providers across the country about their obligations when dealing with those with disabilities and to teach individuals with special needs about their rights, the report authors said.

Source Disability Scoop

  References
Study of Rental Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Mental Disabilities: Final Report, Hammel, Joy; Smith, Janet; Scovill, Susan; Campbell, Ron M; Duan, Rui. Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) August 2017

Measuring Discrimination in Toronto’s Rental Housing Market, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) in Equality Rights

Rental Housing Access & Discrimination Experienced by People With Multiple Disabilities, Study of Rental Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Mental Disabilities: Short Paper 5, Joy Hammel, Janet Smith, Jenna Heffron, Alisa Jordan Sheth, Marti Knisely. Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) August 2017

Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities: Barriers At Every Step, Margery Austin Turner, Carla Herbig, Deborah Kaye, Julie Fenderson, Diane Levy. The Urban Institute Washington DC for Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) June 2005

Also see
Most Housing Discrimination Complaints Related To Disabilities in Disability Scoop
HUD Report Finds People Living with Mental Disabilities Face Significant Rental Housing Discrimination in HOPE, Inc.

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