NFHA Analyzes Housing Discrimination Complaints, Recommends Improvements

The National Fair Housing Alliance’s (NFHA) The Case for Fair Housing: 2017 Fair Housing Trends Report reveals 28,181 housing discrimination complaints were filed in 2016. Fifty-five percent of these complaints were based on a disability, 19.6% based on race, and 8.5% based on familial status. The vast majority of these discrimination complaints occurred during rental transactions. NFHA estimates that more than 4 million instances of housing discrimination occur annually in the rental market alone, as many cases are frequently not reported.

Local, private fair housing organizations processed 70% of the housing discrimination complaints, Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agencies processed 25% of complaints, and HUD processed nearly 5%. The Department of Justice processed 0.14% of the complaints. Many private fair housing organizations are funded through HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). They conduct extensive fair housing tests of discrimination in various sectors of the housing market and take part in systematic investigations at the regional or national level.

NFHA provides a number of recommendations to better address housing discrimination, including increased federal funding for private fair housing organizations, HUD, and state and local public enforcement agencies; the establishment of an independent fair housing enforcement agency with career staff with fair housing experience, an advisory committee, and sufficient resources to better investigate discrimination complaints and implement policies concerning federal agencies’ responsibilities related to affirmatively furthering fair housing; effective implementation of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and holding grantees accountable to it; and strengthening FHIP with greater funding and the creation of fair housing organizations in states and large metropolitan areas where no organization exists. Absent the establishment of an independent fair housing enforcement agency, NFHA recommends a reorganization of HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO).

The Case for Fair Housing: 2017 Fair Housing Trends Report is available at: