Unlocking Discrimination

By Susie McClannahan, Fair Housing Intake and Grant Coordinator

After the ERC released its newest report, Unlocking Discrimination,last week, we held an online convening on Wednesday, October 19 to discuss the results of the investigation with other organizations, providers, and interested individuals. During the convening, ERC’s Director of Fair Housing Kate Scott and Fair Housing Program Coordinator Camille Brown addressed the methodology, results, and recommendations of the reports as well as taking questions from attendees.

The investigation that formed the basis of the report utilized a civil rights testing methodology, commonly referred to as mystery shopping. Over the course of several months, the ERC instructed African American and white female testers posing as having similar criminal records to interact with local housing providers and express interest in renting an apartment. The testers reported back about their experiences and the ERC compared whether testers were treated differently on the basis of race. Testing occurred at apartment complexes throughout Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. Testing revealed that in 47% of tests, the white tester was treated more favorably than the African American tester.

If you were unable to attend the virtual convening, you can listen to it here. You can also view the PowerPoint slides here.

The report and convening are part of a continuing national discussion on ending racial discrimination in housing, along with identifying and removing significant housing barriers faced by individuals with criminal records. For further inquiries and questions regarding the report, you can contact Kate Scott, Director of Fair Housing, at kscott@equalrightscenter.org or Camille Brown, Fair Housing Coordinator, at cbrown@equalrightscenter.org.

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