Barriers to Fair Housing Choice Report
As part of the GroWNC effort, the Land-of-Sky Regional Council partnered with the City of Asheville and the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium to develop an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice across the five counties included in the GroWNC region. Such an analysis is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a condition of receiving federal grant funds, which also requires cities and counties with populations over 10,000 to update their analysis on a regular basis. This document also stands as the City of Asheville and Asheville Regional Housing Consortium’s working plan to affirmatively further fair housing and to assist in comprehensive Fair Housing Planning. The purpose of the analysis is to identify what actions are needed across the region to ensure that individuals, regardless of their race, gender, color, religion, disability, familial status, or national origin, have unrestricted access to housing of their choice. Benchmark CMR, Inc. of Kannapolis, North Carolina, was commissioned to conduct the necessary research and prepare the detailed analysis, with contributions from staff at the Land-of-Sky Regional Council and the City of Asheville.
After researching relative background data and surveying key stakeholders, three direct impediments were identified to fair housing choice in the region, while several indirect impediments and concerns were identified in furthering comprehensive fair housing planning throughout the region.
- Regional coordination and public awareness. Eighty percent of stakeholder survey respondents believed that the general public had inadequate information regarding where to receive assistance with fair housing questions or concerns, and 55 percent described the regional outreach and education efforts regarding fair housing laws to be non-existent, while 45 percent thought those efforts were inadequate.
- Discrimination in lending practices. A disproportionately high rate of denial for home purchase and home refinancing was found for ethnic and racial minority population groups, even after adjusting for income levels.
- General accessibility to housing for persons with a handicapping condition. As the population ages, persons will develop conditions that may become handicapping in nature, requiring them to find housing options in the region that will accommodate such conditions. As demonstrated in the number of complaints, the majority of fair housing discrimination cases between 2006 and 2011 involved handicapping condition as a basis of charge.
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