Fair Housing Hot Topics on the Radio

By Nick Adjami, Kate Scott, and Susie McClannahan
November 5, 2021

In recent months, ERC Executive Director Kate Scott and Fair Housing Rights Program Manager Susie McClannahan have joined discussions on radio shows to share their fair housing expertise.

WBAI’s “On the Count — the Prison and Criminal Justice Report” is hosted and produced entirely by formerly incarcerated persons and seeks to provide a forum for discussions about local, state, national and international criminal and social justice issues. Kate joined a panel of experts to discuss the unfair difficulties many formerly incarcerated people face while trying to find housing, and offered insight as to how those challenges can be mitigated.

“I hear a lot of misinformed statements about the idea that somebody’s involvement in the criminal legal system should somehow affect their ability to be a good tenant or not… The reality is that everyone needs a safe place to live regardless of their involvement with the criminal legal system.”

“In many instances, these [criminal records screening practices] are tools that are being used to hide what some landlords are trying to do when it comes to race discrimination… If housing providers aren’t able to hide behind criminal records screening or credit screening, then it makes it easier to shine a light on the race discrimination that’s happening.”

The segment Kate appears on begins around the 35:40 mark. Listen here. For more information on race discrimination and criminal records screening policies in housing, check out the ERC’s report: Unlocking Discrimination.

Susie joined Empower DC on their podcast “Taking Action” to discuss fair housing, with a focus on the rights of people with disabilities. Empower DC is a membership-based community organizing project focused on improving conditions for low and moderate-income DC residents.

“A lot of our housing in the city is not designed for people with disabilities. A lot of the single-family homes, the rowhouses, have stairs in front of them. If you can’t go up one or two flights of stairs, that home might not be available to you. And that wipes out a lot of the older housing stock, and a lot of the new housing stock are these giant luxury buildings that many people with disabilities just cannot afford. And so it creates this situation where a lot of folks with disabilities, who are disproportionately likely to have lower incomes… who are much more likely to be people of color, are really being pushed out of the city because there just aren’t homes that meet their needs.”

Empower DC hosts “Taking Action” on WPFW 89.3 every Tuesday at 1:00 pm to discuss critical issues facing DC’s low-income communities of color. Listen here. For more information about the rights of people with disabilities in housing, visit the ERC’s resource: Making Home Accessible.

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If you believe you may have experienced discrimination in housing, you can contact the Equal Rights Center. To report your experience, please call 202-234-3062 or email info@equalrightscenter.org.

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